Viktor Axelsen is the favorite to win Barcelona Spain Masters

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Viktor Axelsen is the absolute favorite in Barcelona. (photo: Xinhua)

Barcelona: The World No. 6 Viktor Axelsen will be top favorite to win the Barcelona Spain Masters that will be held at Pavilion of the Vall d’Hebrón in Barcelona from Feb 19 to Feb 24.

In women’s singles, since World No. 3 Carolina Marin has pulled out of the tournament due to fracture of anterior cruciate ligament at her right knee which occurred in the final of Indonesia Masters end of January, 19-year-old Han Yue of China has become a favorite to take the title.

The BWF World Tour returned to Barcelona for the second time in five months after Rasmus Gemke of Denmark, Minatsu Mitani of Japan, and Korea’s Kim Gi-Jung/Lee Yong-Dae won the men’s singles, women’s singles, and men’s doubles titles on September 2, 2018.

About 300 players and as many as seven Olympic medalists will be playing at the 2019 Barcelona Spain Masters compared to the same tournament five months ago. Many top badminton players are treating this as a warm-up tournament prior to the All England that will be held from March 6 to March 10.

Besides the 2017 World Champion Viktor Axelsen, Malaysia’s Cheam June Wei will also be playing in Barcelona and will face Ajay Jayaram of India on Wednesday. If he could get past first round, he will face Viktor Axelsen in the second round.

“I hope I can reach the second round. If yes, I will give my best against Viktor,” said Cheam.

Meanwhile, Chinese player Li Xuerui, the No. 1 seed Han Yue and Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt will be the main candidates for the women’s singles title.

Other Olympic medalists at the tournament including Tontowi Ahmad of Indonesia who will be playing with his new mixed doubles partner Winny Oktavina Kandow, Christinna Pedersen of Denmark, Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis of England.

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