Vitidsarn, the favorite in China Masters 2023. © Getty Images

Vitidsarn is one of the attractions of the Li-Ning China Masters starting today, Tuesday, gathering the world's top 160 badminton players. The Thai achieved excellence in August with a victory at the TotalEnergies BWF World Championship 2023 in Copenhagen.

Since then, he has won only four matches in the four events he has participated in. A back injury has affected him, forcing him to retire prematurely from two matches. He already has a spot in the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023 as the current world champion, so he will attend the Li-Ning China Masters without any pressure, with the opportunity to test himself and enjoy the event. His physical condition and form will be assessed during his participation.

It is evident that Vitidsarn will face tough competition, potentially against players like Lee Zii Jia and Ng Tze Yong, who will face off in the first round along with Kenta Nishimoto, Asian Games champion Li Shi Feng, and second seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.

Notable absences from the top half of the draw include Viktor Axelsen, who won the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023 last Sunday, and French Open champion Jonatan Christie. Highlighted first-round matches in the upper half will be Shi Yu Qi against Lakshya Sen, Anders Antonsen against Weng Hong Yang, and HS Prannoy against Chou Tien Chen. All matches will take place on Tuesday (November 21), the first day of the event.

 160 rackets face off in the Li-Ning China Masters 2023 from today until Sunday. © Getty Images
160 rackets face off in the Li-Ning China Masters 2023 from today until Sunday. © Getty Images

"Unfortunately, I won't be participating in the China Masters this week. I would love to play, but my foot is simply not ready to play consecutive weeks with many hard matches." These were the words of the world number one shortly before the tournament draw was set.

In the women's draw, Kumamoto Masters champion Gregoria Mariska Tunjung is in the same quarter as top seed An Se Young, but she must first overcome opponents like Busanan Ongbamrunphan and Nozomi Okuhara.

Second seed Akane Yamaguchi has withdrawn, and the quarter could witness a showdown between fifth seed Carolina Marín, the Olympic champion in Rio 2016 and three-time world champion gradually regaining her best form after a serious knee injury that interrupted part of her progression, and the in-form Aya Ohori.

Withdrawals: Men's Singles: Viktor Axelsen, Jonatan Christie, Ng Ka Long Angus Promoted: Su Li Yang, Lee Chia Hao, Kantaphon Wangcharoen Women's Singles: Pornpawee Chochuwong, Akane Yamaguchi, Beiwen Zhang Promoted: Kristin Kuuba, Yu Chien Hui, Lin Hsiang Ti Men's Doubles: Alexander Dunn/Adam Hall Promoted: Christo Popov/Toma Junior Popov Women's Doubles: Anna Cheong/Teo Mei Xing; Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand Pullela; Annie Xu/Kerry Xu Promoted: Sung Shuo Yun/Yu Chien Hui; Rutaparna Panda/Swetaparna Panda Mixed Doubles: Vinson Chiu/Jenny Gai; Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue Promoted: Lee Jhe-Huei/Hsu Ya Ching; Koceila Mammeri/Tanina Violette Mammeri