Japan’s Kento Momota and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying remain on top of the respective men and women’s Badminton World Federation (BWF) world rankings after the standings were unfrozen ollowing the conclusion of last week’s HBSC BWF World Tour Finals 2020. Last year, BWF froze the world rankings in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite missing last month’s Yonex Thailand Open, Toyota Thailand Open and the World Tour Finals in Bangkok, the 26-year-old maintained his place at the top of men’s ranking, after testing positive for coronavirus. The three tournaments was supposed to be Momota’s comeback following the tragic car crash after winning last year’s Malaysia Masters that gave him face injury and killed his driver.
The Japanese player – who has two World Championships titles, two Asian Championships titles and one All England title – entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Badminton Men’s singles titles in a season – 11, between March 3 and December 15, 2019. Meanwhile, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, winner of the Yonex and Toyota Thailand Opens, has risen to second.
In the women’s rankings, Tai has been undisputed on top of the ranking since she first became the world No. 1 for the first time in December 2016 when she was just 22. She went on to hold the record for most weeks ranked at the top in BWF history with 148 weeks (as of March 17, 2020) after which the BWF froze the rankings. Tai also won the World Tour Finals in Bangkok last month.
Tai was the women’s singles gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games and she went on to win back-to-back titles at the Asian Championships held in Wuhan in 2017 and 201. Last month, she had to settle for second best at the two successive Thailand Open Super 1000 events while losing to Carolina Marin. However, she bounced back in the final, beating the Marin, who moved up to third in the rankings.
China’s Chen Yu Fei remained in second. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia still lead the men’s doubles, with Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan also keeping their place at the top of the women’s doubles. China’s Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong stay as the world’s number one mixed doubles pair.
Badminton events in Tokyo 2020 Olympics expect Momota and Tai’s appearances. The BWF has recently announced the start of the 2021 calendar starting with two back-to-back Super 300 events – the Swiss Open in Basel from March 1 followed by the German Open in Mulheim from March 8. The highlight will be the All England Open scheduled to be held in Birmingham from March 15.
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