If he keeps his crown, he will become first back-to-back men’s singles king since Lee Chong Wei in 2010. It is the longest category not to see a holder defend his title.
Ko Sung Hyun (2010), Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (2014), Tai Tzu Ying (2014, 2016-2017), Carolina Marin (2015), Ng Ka Long Angus (2016), Nozomi Okuhara and Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (2018) are the other nine former winners competing this year.
India’s solitary men’s singles title came at the very first edition in 1982 courtesy of Prakash Padukone, whose protégé Lakshya Sen is their only seeded hope (8).
Indonesia have not celebrated a men’s singles champion since Budi Santoso in 1998. Two seeds Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (2) and Jonatan Christie (5) lead their charge this time.
Indonesia are also yet to produce winners in the women’s disciplines but have seeded players in both – Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (5) and Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (7).
On the other hand, Malaysia, who have never witnessed a women’s doubles titlists, can count on sixth seeds Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan.
They have also not had success in men’s and mixed doubles since 1999.
Their best chance of ending that drought is in men’s doubles, where they have two seeded pairs – Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik (2) and Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (4).
If she wins a fourth title, second seed Tai Tzu Ying will be the most successful women’s singles player.
Fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon meanwhile, has the incentive of becoming only the second Thai shuttlerto triumph after fellow women’s singles star Sujitra Ekmongkolpaisarn in 2001.
Likewise, top seed Viktor Axelsen will expand the Danish men’s singles winners list by replicating Peter Gade’s 1997 victory.
Men’s doubles is the category the Danes have gone the longest without winning, with Jesper Helledie/Steen Fladberg’s 1985 title their solitary one. They have a seeded pair this time – Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (7).
With Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino’s withdrawal, second seeds Thom Ghicquel/Delphine Delrue could become the first ever French shuttlers to win this tournament.
Standout Stat: Chinese women’s pairs have won 14 of the 16 editions starting 2003 – highest success rate of 87.5 per cent across the five categories in that period.