The men’s singles stars have played each other nine times, with Axelsen, who has a chance to make it three in a row at the Axiata Arena, leading the head-to-head 7-2. Their most recent clash, which Axelsen won in straight games, came in the China Open quarterfinals in September.
Another exciting bout in the bottom half pitted world No.8 H.S. Prannoy against the recent HSBC BWF World Tour Finals semifinalist Anders Antonsen. Also in the half is last year’s runner-up Kodai Naraoka; the Japanese opening his campaign against Frenchman Christo Popov.
Today’s draw for the curtain-rising Super 1000 event also threw up some exciting men’s doubles match-ups – Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen versus Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin, Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi versus Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin and Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana versus Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty.
To see the full draw, click here.
The 68-edition-old Malaysia Open starts 9 January in Kuala Lumpur.