Who to watch at the BWF World Championships 2023: The women's singles

Who to watch at the BWF World Championships 2023: The women's singles

Copenhagen’s Royal Arena hosts the BWF World Championships 2023 this year and the women’s singles competition is packed with serious contenders. Here, Central Sports’ Wai Lim reveals his top seven contenders...

1. An Se Young (Yonex)
Racket: Astrox 77 Pro  

A rising star, An Se Young's equipment emphasises agility and precision. An Se Young, born in Gwangju, South Korea, is one of the most promising talents in the world of badminton and  undoubtedly one of the leading contenders for the championship. The world number 1 is the current Japan Open, Korean Open, Singapore Open, Thailand Open, Yonex All England, Indonesian Masters, and India Open champion. Last year, she lost in the semi-final to Yamaguchi, but this year it won’t be possible to play her until the final this year. Shoes: Power Cushion Aerus Z. Bag: Pro Tournament Bag. Strings: BG80  

2. Akane Yamaguchi (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 100zz Kurenai  

Yamaguchi, known for her swift footwork and aggressive play, is equipped with tools enhancing her power and agility. She is always a top threat in any competition. The reigning Canada Open, Malaysian Masters, German Open and Malaysian Open champion. Regularly reaches the final, she’s very consistent. Shoes: Power Cushion 65z3. Bag: Pro Tournament Bag. Strings: Exbolt 63  


3. Chen Yu Fei (Yonex)
Racket: Astrox 77 Pro  

Chen Yu Fei's style emphasises control and finesse, and her equipment choice reflects this. With the right execution, she is poised to make a deep run in the tournament. Undoubtedly one of the best players in the world, but she seems to always struggle for consistency. Won the Olympic Gold medal at just 23 years old, she’s fast, she’s fiery and she’s cool under pressure. She won the Indonesia Open, but she’s lost to An Se Young in Malaysia, Yonex All England, Dubai and Korea this year. Shoes: Power Cushion 65z3. Bag: Pro Tournament Bag. Strings: Exbolt 63  


4. He Bing Jiao (Yonex)
Racket: Voltric Z-Force 2  

Bing Jiao's choice of the Voltric Z-Force 2 racket gives her added power in her game. She's an accomplished player, and her chances should not be underestimated. Left-handed, understated and a bit of a personality, He Bing Jiao has lots of fans. Seems to only lose to the same three players: An Se Young, Tai Tzu Ying and Tunjung (Indonesia). On course to face An Se Young in the semi-final, He Bing Jiao will need to climatise quickly to get past her rival. Shoes: Power Cushion 65z3  


5. Carolina Marin (Yonex)
Racket: Nanoflare 1000z  

Marin's dynamic playstyle and aggressive nature are well supported by her equipment, highlighting her speed and offensive prowess. As a former champion, her chances are strong. Another left hander, she was untouchable and unbreakable for a long period of time around the Rio Olympics, but since rupturing her ACL there is still a bit of work to do to get back to her very best. She’s won 3 Golds at the World Championships, 6 time European Champion, her h2h with Tai Tzu Ying, An Se Young and Yamaguchi is -1,-1,0 she’s pretty good there but she has a weakness the Thai hero Ractchanok Intanon who she wouldn’t meet until the final. Shoes: Power Cushion Aerus Z. Bag: Pro Tournament Bag. Strings: Aerobite  


6. Ratchanok Intanon (Yonex)
Racket: Nanoflare 1000z  

Intanon's elegant play and deceptive shots are her hallmarks, making her a formidable contender. In 2013 Ratchanok stormed onto the world stage, winning the World Championship at just 18 years old and still, today, she’s unbeatable on her day. But she does seem to struggle a bit towards the end of tournaments. That said, she played one of the best games anyone has ever seen against Tai Tzu Ying in the Tokyo Olympics quarter final. Her biggest fear is An Se Young (1-5) and Chen Yufei (3-16). She’s played Tai Tzu Ying a remarkable 35 times over her career with a 15-20 ratio. Very much a contender. Shoes: Power Cushion Aerus Z. Bag: Pro Tournament Bag  


7. Tai Tzu Ying (Victor)
Racket: Thruster F C White  

Tai Tzu Ying's exceptional skill and creativity, supported by her unique equipment choices, make her one of the favourites to win. Her game is an art form, and her chances are high. She plans to retire at the end of 2024 meaning this is her penultimate chance at an elusive World Championship Gold medal. Has a lost 4 out of 5 vs An Se Young this year, but has won 2 titles at the Asian Badminton Championship and the Taipei Open this year. Strings: VBS-66 Nano  


Wai’s winner: An Se Young
My heart wants to go with Tai Tzu Ying as rumours are rife that she may bring the retirement forward and this could be her last World Championship but the Korean An Se Young is full of form, energy and has every shot in her locker. Plus, she’s holding seven international titles going into this and she has looked untouchable, winning six of her last eight tournaments. She’s reached a remarkable ten finals out of eleven tournaments and only Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei in Indonesia (semi final) and Tai Tzu Ying in Dubai (final) have managed to get the better of her since the beginning of March. Currently on a ten-match winning streak. An Se Young is great to watch, she has a never-give-up attitude and an armoury of weapons to win points.

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