Japanese ace Kento Momota will not feature at this year’s Malaysia Open after withdrawing due to influenza-like symptoms, with his spot to be taken up by Malaysia’s Liew Daren from the reserve list.

Momota’s participation was highly anticipated, with the shuttler set to make a return to feature on the World Tour for the first time since last August.

But the Malaysia Open runner-up will have to wait a little longer to start his 2023 season, after the Nippon Badminton Association announced the news on their social media.

Momota was scheduled to take on Frenchman Toma Junior Popov in the first round, with a potential mouth-watering second round clash against Viktor Axelsen on the cards.

The Japanese had recently won the Japan National Championships, declaring to be “stronger than ever”.

Besides Momota, Japan’s women’s doubles shuttlers Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara also pulled out.

The 2023 Malaysia Open, elevated to a Super 1000 event, will still feature a host of world class names including Lee Zii Jia, Loh Kean Yew and Akane Yamaguchi.