Tough draw for Sindhu at World Tour Finals
Reigning world champion PV Sindhu was on Tuesday drawn in a tough Group B alongside world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, former world champion Ratchanok Intanon and Pornpawee Chochuwong (both Thailand) at the $1.5 million BWF World Tour Finals that commences at the Impact Arena in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The only Indian to win the prestigious year-ending tournament back in 2018, Sindhu will open against the second-seeded Tai, who has a 12-5 record against the Indian, having won the last two contests between them. Sindhu also lost her previous meetings with Chochuwong and Intanon, going down to the latter last week at the Toyota Thailand Open.
Three-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who won the first two tournaments of the Asia leg in the last two weeks, Korean An Se Young, Canada’s Michelle Li and Evgeniya Kosetskaya—the first Russian singles player at the season finale—are in Group A.
Sindhu was originally 10th in the qualifying rankings but made the cut after Nozomi Okuhara and Thai Busanan Ongbamrungphan pulled out. Okuhara’s decision was taken by the Japanese federation when they decided against sending their players to Thailand due to a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases. Ongbamrungphan did not make it as only two players from a member association (Thailand) are allowed to participate, the spots already taken by higher ranked compatriots Intanon and Chochuwong.
Only the top-eight in the world qualify for the prestigious tournament—originally scheduled for Guangzhou in December 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. The group stages will be followed by the semi-finals with the top two from each group qualifying.
Former world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth will open against Danish Anders Antonsen with Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus also in men’s singles Group B. While Srikanth has lost his previous meetings versus Antonsen and Angus, the former world No.1 is yet to lose to Wang in his three contests.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, winner of the first two events of the Asian Leg, is the top seed in Group A with Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei), Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia).
No Indian pair qualified for the doubles categories.