The world's top-ranked shuttlers will return to action in the highly-competitive All England Open 2021 Badminton Championships, which begin on March 17.
The Super 1000 event will see a few leading names in men’s singles fight it out for the title in Birmingham. While Indian shuttlers have enjoyed mixed fortunes at the All England Open, they will look to win the elusive gold this time.
The All England Open 2021 will also serve as an important preparatory event in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
All England Open 2021: Momota vs Axelsen - Momentum or Resurgence?
It is significant to note that Japan will make their international return with the All England Open 2021 tournament for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The comeback of top seed Kento Momota will make their appearance even more exciting, as he will look to dominate the competition as the top seed.
Viktor Axelsen topped the podium on his last visit to the Birmingham Arena at the 2020 All England Open. But Momota could have different ideas this time.
Top five male shuttlers to watch out for at the All England Open 2021
Let’s take a close look at the men’s singles field at the 2021 All England Open and its top five contenders.
#5 Kidambi Srikanth
Former world no. 1 Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead the Indian challenge in men's singles at the All England Open 2021. He faces an out-of-sorts Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in his tournament opener.
Srikanth is coming off a defeat in the semifinals of the Swiss Open last week, going down to Viktor Axelsen. With the Indian shuttler not at his best of late, it will be interesting to see if he can manage to get close to his previous form.
Kidambi Srikanth suffered a first-round exit last year at the hands of Chen Long at the All England Open. He exited the Super 1000 tournament in the quarter-final round in 2019.
He will need to shrug off his lacklustre performances in his last few All England Open campaigns to make a deep run in the tournament. Srikanth is in line to lock horns with compatriot Lakshya Sen in the quarterfinals.
#4 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting
Anthony Ginting will play the in-form Thomas Rouxel of France in his first-round men's singles match at the 2021 All England Open.
Ginting has had an average outing at the tournament, failing to get past the first-round hurdle since his All England debut in 2016.
The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist reached a career-high of world no. 3 but conceded defeat against Rasmus Gamke in his tournament opener at the 2020 All England Open. Ginting is coming off a 5-4 win-loss record in all competitions last year.
He has been away from competitive action since the All England Open last year. By demonstrating his mettle in the historic tournament, Ginting will ensure he is in good shape heading into the Singapore Open, which is another Olympic qualification tournament.
#3 Anders Antonsen
Anders Antonsen opens his campaign at the 2021 All England Open against world no. 35 Brice Leverdez, whom he beat at the 2019 Minsk European Games. The third-seeded Dane has won all three career meetings with Leverdez.
Should the world no. 4 get through his opening hurdle, he will run into Indian Sameer Verma in the second round. Verma will look to avenge his 2021 Thailand Open quarter-final loss against Antonsen. Antonson, meanwhile, will capitalise on his momentum after winning the Bangkok BWF World Tour Finals in January.
His had a good run at the 2020 All England Open before he had to retire with an ankle injury midway through his semi-final match. Ranked third with 80,362 points in the 'Race To Tokyo' rankings, Anderson looks assured of an Olympic berth this year.
#2 Kento Momota
Kento Momota will look to forget an injury-laden 2020 and swiftly get back his 2019 form at the 2021 All England Open. He had a narrow first-round defeat against fellow Japanese Nishimoto in the last edition of the tournament.
Momota became the first Japanese player to win the All England Open when he did so in 2019. As the top seed, he will look for another title run at the historic tournament.
The two-time world champion will enter the tournament as a favourite, despite being out of competitive action for almost a year.
Momota occupies first place in both the 'Race To Tokyo' and the BWF rankings. He will kickstart his 2021 All England Open campaign against the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap on Wednesday.
#1 Viktor Axelsen
Viktor Axelsen is one of the best players in the world. He has excelled in different tournaments all around the globe.
One simply can't look beyond Viktor Axelsen as an outright favourite to retain his All England Open title. The 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist has ruled the international badminton circuit for some time now and will head into this event to reclaim his title.
Axelsen, seeded second, will square off against Japanese Koki Watanabe in his 2021 All England Open tournament opener.
Considering his current form, he will fancy his chances of another deep run in the tournament. The former world champion is capable of beating almost anyone on his day.
Also, Read: "I love my sport; I feel I have something to bring back to the sport," says world number 3 shuttler Viktor Axelsen (Exclusive).
Winning all nine matches he has played so far this year, Axelsen will look to continue his momentum by going all the way at the 2021 All England Open.
If the seedings hold true, Axelsen is set to run into Momota in the final. The Japanese, incidentally, has been Axelsen's nemesis for more than half a decade now.
Victor Axelsen has struggled to counter the Japanese player’s guile and fortitude. The Dane trails Momota 1-14 in his career head-to-head. It will be interesting to see if Axelsen manages to beat Kento Momota this time around.