Those who are in the running for the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals will be keenly aware that this is their last chance to qualify.
Shaped like an inverted pyramid, the Hong Kong Coliseum presents a scenic location for the last World Superseries event of the year.
One of those who was looking forward to participating in Dubai, but unlikely to qualify, is India’s PV Sindhu, currently ranked No.16 on the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings.
“I couldn’t play the China Open because I was not well,” she said.
“I would have liked to play the World Superseries Finals, but I don’t think I can make it even if I win the title here.”
The Women’s Singles draw sports a healthy look despite the absence of world No.1 Li Xuerui (China). Li’s compatriots Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan (2) are seeded to make the final, but a number of others could play spoilsport to their ambitions.
In Wang Shixian’s half are China Open champion Saina Nehwal, USA’s Beiwen Zhang, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying and Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi, while Wang Yihan might have to deal with the likes of Sindhu or compatriot Sun Yu. Canada’s Michelle Li and Japan’s Yui Hashimoto could play spoilers to the bigger names.
China Open runner-up Lin Dan will not entertain his fans this year as he withdrew from the Men’s Singles draw. In his absence, 2012 champion and compatriot Chen Long is the favourite. Several seeds face difficult first round matches. French Open champion Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei) runs into China Open champion Srikanth Kidambi (India), while second seed Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark) faces China Open semi-finalist Marc Zwiebler (Germany). Other match-ups include: Hu Yun (Hong Kong) versus Son Wan Ho (Korea, 6); Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia, 3) versus Nan Wei (Hong Kong) and Kenichi Tago (Japan, 4) versus Viktor Axelsen (Denmark). Local hope Hu Yun is No.10 on the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings and will need to perform well here if he has to qualify.
The event will see the return of Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who has been out of action since the Indonesia Masters (September), which was only his third tournament this year. Kuncoro lost the first round of both World Superseries he played in – the All England and Indonesian Open. His previous best performance at a World Superseries was exactly a year ago.
“I wasn’t fit all these months; now I’m feeling okay,” Kuncoro, once world No.4 but now languishing at No.59, said.
“I was runner-up here last year, so I’m keen to do well.”
Men’s Doubles features the heavyweights – Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong and Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan – at the opposite ends of the draw. World champions Shin Baek Choel/Ko Sung Hyun, China’s Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan, Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa and Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Johannes Schoettler are expected to give the top two seeds a run for their money.
Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua (China) will not defend their Women’s Doubles title as Bao has been paired with Wang Xiaoli. Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei, champions in 2012, could well go all the way. Compatriots Luo Ying/Luo Yu, top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi and Asian Games winners Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari are also expected to feature in the later rounds. Commonwealth Games champions Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei return as a pair after a brief stint with other partners.
Interestingly, Indonesia has split their two main Mixed Doubles pairs. Tontowi Ahmad will partner Debby Susanto, while Liliyana Natsir will share duties with Praveen Jordan. Chris/Gabrielle Adcock (England) have gone a year without a World Superseries title and will be keen to retain their Hong Kong Open crown. They run into Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon/Ng Hui Lin in the opener. China however have plenty of firepower in this category: top seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei; second seeds Xu Chen/Ma Jin; Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin and Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong. Home hopes will rest on Chan Alan Yun Lung/Tse Ying Suet and Fernando Kurniawan/Poon Lok Yan.
Men’s Singles: Ajay Jayaram (India); Gao Huan (China); Angus Ng (Hong Kong); Riichi Takeshita (Japan)
Women’s Singles: Rusydina Antardaryu Riodingin (Indonesia); Cheung Ngan Yi (Hong Kong); Lydia Cheah (Malaysia); Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)
Men’s Doubles: Hoon Thien How/Tan Boon Heong (Malaysia); Ruud Bosch (Netherlands)/ Tien Tzu Chieh (Chinese Taipei); Reginald Lee/Tang Chun Man (Hong Kong); Liao Min Chun/Tseng Min Hao (Chinese Taipei)
Women’s Doubles: Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (Korea); Tsun Yu Lin/Yu Wen Kuo (Chinese Taipei); Poon Lok Yan/Shek Hiu Yiu (Hong Kong); Cheng Wen Hsing/Wang Pei Rong (Chinese Taipei)
Mixed Doubles: Tan Aik Quan/Lai Pei Jing (Malaysia); Evgenij Dremin/Evgenia Dimova (Russia); Yoo Yeon Seong/Eom Hye Won (Korea); Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan (Chinese Taipei)