2016 Malaysian Open Superseries Premier: Top 5 Men’s Singles contenders
We are excatly a month away from the deadline to end for qualification to Rio 2016 and the second last event that is expected to assume siginificance is the Malaysian Opn Superseries Premier that begins in Shah Alam from Wednesday.
Here’s a look at the Top 5 male contenders for he title:
He may have suffered a shocking loss in the second round at the All England Championships, but that defeat still doesnt rule Chen Long to be as the favourite to retain the title that he won last year.
The 27-year-old, who didnt feature in the India Open that ended on Sunday, looks firm favourite to enter into Rio 2016 as the number one ranked player in the world and will be hoping to get back on track at Shah Alam.
His opponent in the 1st round will be the 2016 Swiss Open finalist Marc Zwiebler from Germany.
If there were to be a list for the most improved players in the past 12 months, then Kento Momota from Japan would feature on top of that group. The 21-year-old has certainly taken his game to the next level in the previous 12 months, having won the Indonesia Open, Singapore Open and the Dubai Superseries Finals at the end of last year.
He may have endured an opening round exit in the 2015 edition of this competition, but this time around, he is heading into the competition on the back of a triumphant India Open campiagn and it will be interesting to see if he can carry that momentum into Shah Alam this year.
He will take on HS Prannoy in the 1st round.
3.Lee Chong Wei
Having had a far-from-ideal start to 2016, Lee Chong Wei will hope for all the home support at Shah Alam. The 33-year-old was knocked out in the opening round of the All England Open by India’s Sai Praneeth and although he later credited him for the win, he would have no doubt been gutted about his own showing in the fixture.
He endured another disappointing outing, this time at the India Open, where he was ousted in the second round by Wei Nan of Hong Kong.
Seeded second in Malaysia, he would be hoping to put up a much-improved performance in-front of his home fans and win his 1st title of 2016. He will have a chance to avenge that defeat to Nan when he faces him again in the opening round.
He may be 33 years of age, but Lin Dan still has some gas left in his tank, as was evident from his performance at the All England Open last month. The Chinese ace, however, hasnt been to able maintain consistency in 2016 so far, and heading into the Malaysian Open, that would be a facet that he would look to work upon.
He will need to wait to find out who he will face on the day of the qualifying rounds.
Another player who could feature in the same category as Momota, Viktor Axelson also seems to have grown as a player in the last 12-15 months. The Dane finished as the runner-up at the India Open on Sunday and at th Dubai Superseries Finals in December defeated Chen Long in the semifinals of the Dubai Superseries Finals. He had to endure a tough defeat at the hands of Xue Song at the All England Championships at the uarterfinal stage and will hope to go past that stage at this Superseries Premier event at Shah Alam.
His opening round opponent will be Sho Sasaki of Japan.
Originally published on Sportskeeda.com here