2023 in Review: That Taste of Glory Reappears

2023 in Review: That Taste of Glory Reappears

Some renowned shuttlers were back on an HSBC BWF World Tour podium perch this season after a fair while.

Here are some of the longest title droughts smashed in 2023.


Kento Momota – Korea Masters
Days since last title: 721 (Indonesia Masters 2021)

The former world No.1 went through a confidence crisis that saw him plummet to a lowly 60th on the rankings. Since winning the Indonesia Masters in November 2021, Momota had only been in one final – Malaysia Open in July 2022. This year, he crashed out in the first round of eight events before finally hitting bullseye in Gwangju, where he didn’t drop a single game.

Carolina Marin – Orleans Masters
Days since last title: 763 (Swiss Open 2021)

Another former world champion, Spaniard Marin, who won gold at two European Championships (2021, 2022) and the 2023 European Games after her last World Tour title in March 2021, lost the 2022 French Open and 2023 Indonesia Masters finals before coming good in Orleans in April.

Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen – Canada Open
Days since last title: 854 (Swiss Open 2021)

Basel also provided the scene for the Danes’ last success and after a couple of underwhelming seasons that only returned to two final appearances, the European Games gold in Poland in July sparked Astrup/Rasmussen. They would go on to ace the Hong Kong, Arctic and French Opens with a World Championships silver sandwiched in between.

Anders Antonsen – Korea Open
Days since last title: 903 (World Tour Finals 2020)

Injuries have hampered the former world No.2 but when presented the chance against fourth seed Loh Kean Yew in Yeosu, Antonsen did not let it go to waste, coming from behind to win 11-21 21-11 21-19. His run to the Singapore Open final a month earlier in June served as a precursor of what’s to come.

Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin – Japan Open
Days since last title: 910 (World Tour Finals 2020)

Although they took Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, Lee and Wang had not topped a World Tour podium since January 2021. Back to the city of their greatest triumph 23 title-less events later, the Chinese Taipei pair defeated top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto and third seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty en route to the Japanese crown.

Back on the top of the podium for Lee and Wang.

Nozomi Okuhara – Syed Modi India International
Days since last title: 987 (All England 2021)

Okuhara had to wait until the last month of 2023 to make her first final since winning the All England in March 2021. The 2017 world champion won a close first game in Lucknow against Line Kjaersfeldt and then stepped it up in the second to prevail 21-19 21-16.

Pornpawee Chochuwong – Swiss Open
Days since last title: 1,127 (Spain Masters 2020)

Chochuwong beat Mia Blichfeldt in straight games to break a three-year long spell without a World Tour crown. The Thai’s last victory at the Spain Masters in February 2020, her only other title, was also against a European – home favourite Carolina Marin.

Ng Ka Long Angus – German Open
Days since last title: 1,141 (Thailand Masters 2020)

Another three-year lapse also fell in March, when Ng rediscovered the winning feeling in Mulheim. He fought his way back into the final from a narrow opening game loss and an ankle injury to overcome Li Shi Feng 20-22 21-18 21-18. “I can’t use words to describe my feelings now, but I’m happy,” he said post-match.

Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet – HYLO Open
Days since last title: 1,442 (Korea Masters 2019)

Fellow Hong Kong China players Tang and Tse’s perseverance over four years was rewarded in November in Saarbrucken, where they defeated Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati to pick up their first winners’ medal since the 2019 Korea Masters.

Beiwen Zhang – Australian Open
Days since last title: 2,009 (India Open 2018)

Longest wait on this list by a distance, it is also perhaps the most inspiring. Beiwen’s first World Tour title in five years came on the second anniversary of a surgery to her ruptured Achilles at Tokyo 2020. It would take her eight months to return to action. The 33-year-old said in Sydney: “I feel touched because today is exactly two years since my surgery. I feel so emotional right now.”

A tearful Beiwen being wheeled away after her injury in Tokyo.