A highly-competitive bottom quarter in men’s singles is the standout feature of the draw for the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 that was conducted at the BWF head office in Kuala Lumpur today.
This quarter includes first-round clashes between Jonatan Christie and Lee Zii Jia, Kidambi Srikanth and Kenta Nishimoto, Ng Tze Yong and Zhao Jun Peng, besides featuring other top contenders like second seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Danish star Anders Antonsen.
Malaysian players Tan Kian Meng, Lai Pei Jing, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik helped make the draw at the BWF office.
Defending champion Viktor Axelsen, looking to become the first Dane to win a men’s singles World Championships at home, will be on his toes from the beginning as he faces Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen. A potential second round clash against in-form Frenchman Christo Popov awaits him.
Speaking on his preparations for his home event, Axelsen said: “There is a lot of pressure on my shoulders always, especially while playing on home ground, and for me, with all the focus and attention it’s hard for me … I’ll try to focus on my game and I’ll try to be a little bit isolated during the World Championships and try to focus on my game, because after all it’s the result that matters.”
Interestingly, the second quarter has the top three Chinese – third seed Chen Yu Fei, fifth seed He Bing Jiao and 10th seed Wang Zhi Yi.
Chia and Soh, who attended the draw ceremony and helped make the electronic draw for men’s singles, were optimistic about another good show.
“Before our World Championships last year we hadn’t won any other title, but me and Aaron had that belief in our hearts and we still believe that we will keep going even though we haven’t won another title since then,” said Soh.
In women’s doubles, three-time champions Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan are seeded to run into Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand Pullela in the Round of 16. Other seeds in their quarter include Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida and Rin Iwanaga/Kie Nakanishi.
“We don’t think too much about us being world No.1,” said Huang.
“I think nowadays there are many mixed doubles pairs, from various countries, who are very aggressive and not easy to play against. The pressure is definitely there, but hopefully it’s the pressure that will drive us.”