World No. 1 Tai wants to make amends for first-round exit last year
Nine of the world's top-10 women shuttlers sign up for OUE Singapore Open in April
The field for the women's singles competition of the OUE Singapore Open badminton tournament this year will be one of the strongest ever.
Nine of the world's current top-10 shuttlers have signed up for the US$350,000 (S$497,000) tournament from April 11-16 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with China's world No. 7 Li Xuerui the only notable absentee.
Headlining the list, released by the organisers yesterday, is Taiwanese world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying, who was booted out in the first round by China's world No. 10 He Bingjiao last year.
Tai, 22, said: "In badminton, everyone has a chance of winning. I am going into the OUE Open prepared to give my all.
"Staying competitive and playing my best are more important to me than being world No. 1."
The three medallists from the Rio Olympics last year - world No. 2 and Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, silver medallist PV Sindhu (No. 5) of India and bronze medallist Nozomi Okuhara (No. 11) of Japan - have also registered for the tournament.
South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun (No. 3), China's Sun Yu (No. 4)and He (No. 7), Akane Yamaguchi (No. 6, Japan), Ratchanok Intanon (No. 8, Thailand), Saina Nehwal (No. 9, India) complete the slate of the top-10 players in the women's singles.
Japan will also send their Olympic women's doubles champions Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, who withdrew from the final here last year against Indonesia's Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii, due to an ankle injury to Matsutomo.
Matsutomo, 25, said: "Due to my injury, we had to withdraw from the final in last year's OUE Open.
"However, I believe that this hastened my recovery process and allowed us to clinch the gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Staying competitive and playing my best are more important to me than being world No. 1.Top-ranked shuttler Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan
"Of course, we would like to win our first Singapore Open title this year, but we know that it's not an easy feat."
Earlier, organisers also announced that Olympic men's singles champion Chen Long will lead the 23-strong Chinese squad, which also includes world No. 1 mixed doubles pair Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen.
In addition, Hong Kong will send an 18-strong team, with organisers confident of more entries before the deadline next Monday.
*Tickets for the OUE Open are available through Sports Hub Tix and APAC Tix.