Olympic Women’s Singles finalists Carolina Marin and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu are set for an early showdown at the season-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals as they find themselves in the same group following today’s draw.
Olympic champion Marin (Spain) and Pusarla (India) were picked by random draw into Group B, alongside second seed Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) and China’s Sun Yu.
New World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei), top seed at the event, is in Group A with Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and China’s He Bingjiao.
The draw was conducted at the Intercontinental Event Centre Dubai, Festival City, by BWF’s Events Director Darren Parks in the presence of Chief Referee Carsten Koch, BWF’s Chair of Events Peter Tarcala, media, players, team officials, event organisers and young participants of BWF’s flagship programme Shuttle Time, who helped pick the draw (featured image).
Tai, who will attempt to regain the title she won here in 2014, said she felt no pressure at coming into the event ranked No.1: “My mindset is the same, irrespective of my ranking,” she said. “I enjoy playing and giving my best on court. I haven’t thought much about being No.1. It matters more to people around me. I feel no pressure at coming here as the top seed.”
In-form Dane Jan O Jorgensen will have to battle China’s Tian Houwei, Germany’s Marc Zwiebler and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in Men’s Singles Group A, while Group B, perhaps the more difficult of the two groups, has Korea’s Son Wan Ho, Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long, Malaysia’s Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.
“Even though (Olympic champion) Chen Long is missing, it’s a strong field,” said Jorgensen. “I have to enjoy myself. The players really like it here as the set-up is very nice.”
Japan’s Men’s Doubles duo Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda, who recently won their first World Superseries title in Hong Kong, are top seeded and in Group A, with Indonesia’s three-time Superseries champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo; Indonesia’s Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Denmark’s Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding.
Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia) are second seeded and in Group B alongside two-time Dubai runners-up Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China); Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen and China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen.
“It’s a very important event for me and I’ve prepared well,” said Chai Biao, who fell at the final hurdle in 2014 and 2015. “Hopefully, this time we will get the title.”
Unlike in Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles saw the Olympic finalists drawn into separate groups. Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi have been grouped with Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee; Japan’s Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao and defending champions Luo Ying/Luo Yu (China).
Olympic silver medallists Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) are in Group B, with Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan; Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei and China’s Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan.
Mixed Doubles Olympic gold medallists Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) are grouped with the in-form Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea); Yonex Denmark Open champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) and Yonex All England champions Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia).
Defending champions Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (England) are drawn alongside China’s Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong; China’s Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen and Japan’s Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara.