3 clinch Dubai spots, sit out Paris

The race to qualify for the Superseries Finals in Dubai is still wide open, with only 3 pairs having mathematically clinched their spots on points and all three are sitting […]

The race to qualify for the in Dubai is still wide open, with only 3 pairs having mathematically clinched their spots on points and all three are sitting out the French Open.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Only three events remain in the ‘regular season’ of the 2017 BWF World but there are still 32 places yet to be confirmed of the 40 eventual qualifiers for the season-ending Finals in Dubai.  In 3 of the 5 disciplines, the only players who can sit out the rest of season and still be assured of playing in the UAE in December are the World Champions, who for the 3rd straight year will qualify automatically.

Yesterday, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured top) and Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl withdrew on the eve of the French Open but they had already accumulated enough points, as of the end of the Denmark Open, that they cannot be ousted from the top 8 even if they stop playing and the chasing pairs all maximize their points in the remaining 3 Superseries tournaments.  Women’s doubles leaders Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee actually have abdicated for the remainder of the series but they had already clinched a spot as of the end of the Japan Open.

What’s more, the list of players currently outside the top 8 but with a mathematical chance of getting in before the concludes is quite long in all five disciplines, ranging from 11 in women’s doubles to 25 in men’s singles.

In the following analysis, I am using a conservative definition of ‘clinch’ – marked on the table in bold, green italics – that entails a top 8 player having enough points to be out of reach of the 9th place player or pair even should the latter win 3 titles and the former be unable to play in the first round in Paris, Fuzhou, or Hong Kong.

I have shown in bold green the 8 players and pairs who would qualify were the Superseries to end after the first 9 tournaments.  I have shown in grey the players or pairs who cannot catch one of the current 8 qualifiers or who cannot catch either of two qualified compatriots.  Finally, I have displayed one ‘x’ for each of the remaining Superseries events a player or pair has withdrawn from or not entered.  An asterisk (*) denotes a player who can only qualify by beating out a currently qualified compatriot.  The numbers are based on calculations to include points earned from the Denmark Open but the official Superseries standings will be available later in the week from the BWF website.

Women’s singles is by far the least likely to see changes in the top 8 between now and Dubai.  First chaser He Bingjiao has compatriot Chen Yufei in her sights, as do several other players, but He is over 12,000 points behind Carolina Marin so the Spaniard and everyone above her are pretty confident they are headed to Dubai.

The last player, with the faintest glimmer of hope for making the Finals is Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt.  With titles in the last three Superseries events, she could theoretically catch up, but only in theory.  Realistically, she would need, in addition to those victories, almost complete withdrawal by Chen and the dozen other shuttlers currently between them in the standings.

Normally, Akane Yamaguchi (pictured above) might be in a vulnerable position as Nozomi’s automatic qualification leaves just one spot for Japan, which has 3 in the top 8; however, her 20,000-point cushion over Sayaka Sato (pictured below with He Bingjiao) means she has little to worry about.  Minatsu Mitani is already out of the running because of the same rule combination.

1  Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) – 59870
2  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) – 54970
3  Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) – 53120
4  Ratchanok Intanon (THA) – 48560
5  P. V. Sindhu (IND) – 47770
6  Carolina Marin (ESP) – 47740
7  Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) – 45360 x

8  Sayaka Sato (JPN) – 39050 *
9  Chen Yufei (CHN) – 35790
10  He Bingjiao (CHN) – 35380
11  Saina Nehwal (IND) – 32760
12  Zhang Beiwen (USA) – 32680
13  Minatsu Mitani (JPN) – 30420
14  Sun Yu (CHN) – 29610 xxx
15  Kim Hyo Min (KOR) – 29270
16  Nitchaon Jindapon (THA) – 27040 x
17  Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA) – 24500 x
18  Yip Pui Yin (HKG) – 22210 x
19  Chiang Mei Hui (TPE) – 22120
20  Lee Chia Hsin (TPE) – 21640 x
21  Cheung Ngan Yi (HKG) – 21180 x
22  Chen Xiaoxin (CHN) – 19070 x
24  Michelle Li (CAN) – 16400
28  Lee Jang Mi (KOR) – 14740
29  Line Kjaersfeldt (DEN) – 14640

One might expect the women’s doubles qualifying list to be even more predictable, what with 3 spots already clinched and the smallest chase pack among the 5 disciplines.  But there are two catches.

One catch is that the actual top 8 is half comprised of Japanese pairs.  Only two can qualify but so far we have no idea which two.  Fukuman/Yonao are likely to be among the two left at home – given that they are sitting out both the French and Hong Kong Opens – but if they were to win the , they would leave compatriots such as Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (pictured) having to do more than just show up to finish ahead of them.

The other oddity is that the 6th of the current 8 who are pencilled in is Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (pictured below).  They were entered in none of the last four Superseries events but to be denied a spot in Dubai, they would have to be caught by at least one pair now 8,000 points behind and one currently 13,000 points behind them.  Such gaps can certainly be made up but the 2 pairs immediately behind them have each suffered 3 straight first-round exits and that won’t be enough to get them their ticket to the season finale.

1  Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) – 54570 xxx
2  Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) – 53900
3  Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) – 53140 x
4  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) – 52500

5  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) – 51620 *
6  Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao (JPN) – 45250 xx *
7  Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) – 37710
8  Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) – 37220 xxx
9  Hsu Ya Ching / Wu Ti Jung (TPE) – 29200
10  Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy (IND) – 24280

11  Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN) – 24050
12  Puttita Supajirakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) – 23670 xxx
13  Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai (THA) – 22660 x
14  Maiken Fruergaard / Sara Thygesen (DEN) – 22340
15  Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) – 19900
16  Gabriela Stoeva / Stefani Stoeva (BUL) – 19340
19  Chiang Kai Hsin / Hung Shih Han (TPE) – 17800 x
21  Lin Xiao Min / Wu Fang Chien (TPE) – 16400 x
22  Chow Mei Kuan / Lee Meng Yean (MAS) – 15740 xx
23  Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu (INA) – 15620
24  Huang Dongping / Li Yinhui (CHN) – 15250 xx
28  Vivian Hoo / Woon Khe Wei (MAS) – 14520

Through a combination of injuries, partner shuffling, and perhaps other factors, mixed doubles has an uncommonly long list of potential substitutes.  Like in women’s doubles, the point total for the 8th tentative qualifier can be matched by even a brand new pair who start at 0 but win the French, China, and Hong Kong Opens.  In other words, all those players whose previous pairs were recently dissolved – such as Sara Thygesen, Mathias Christiansen, Christinna Pedersen, Dechapol Puavaranukroh, and Kim Ha Na – still have a slim chance with their new partners.

Most of the chase pack is sitting out the French Open and that means that the current 8th pair – Kenta Kazuno / Ayane Kurihara – are by far the most vulnerable, particularly since they too are not playing in Paris.  One of the highest-ranked chasers is Goh Soon Huat / Shevon Jemie Lai (pictured below) of Malaysia.  They are 9,000 points off the pace but they just reached a semi-final in Denmark and they could well be breathing down the necks of the Japanese pair in a week’s time.

While no one but the World Champions have clinched, it is certain that 2 of the 3 Chinese pairs at the top of the table will be invited to Dubai.  We don’t know which two but while Wang Yilu / Huang Dongping (pictured above) are well back and not playing the French Open, they may snatch a ticket on the home stretch as neither of the top two pairs are playing the China or Hong Kong Opens.

1  Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) – 52430 xx
2  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) – 51020 xx

3  Wang Yilu / Huang Dongping (CHN) – 38110 x *
4  Praveen Jordan / Debby Susanto (INA) – 38100
5  Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) – 38010 x
6  Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) – 36890
7  Tan Kian Meng / Lai Pei Jing (MAS) – 31530
8  Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) – 31280
9  Kenta Kazuno / Ayane Kurihara (JPN) – 29360 x

10  Dechapol Puavaranukroh / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) – 26430 xxx
11  Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) – 26110 x
12  Wang Chi-Lin / Lee Chia Hsin (TPE) – 26100 x
13  Bodin Issara / Savitree Amitrapai (THA) – 24100 xx
14  Lu Ching Yao / Chiang Kai Hsin (TPE) – 23010 xx
17  Lee Yang / Hsu Ya Ching (TPE) – 22140
19  Yuta Watanabe / Arisa Higashino (JPN) – 21340 xx
20  Goh Soon Huat / Shevon Jemie Lai (MAS) – 20660
22  Pranaav Jerry Chopra / Sikki Reddy (IND) – 20220
23  Takuro Hoki / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) – 19380 x
24  Yugo Kobayashi / Misaki Matsutomo (JPN) – 18780
25  Chan Peng Soon / Cheah Yee See (MAS) – 16340 xx
26  Seo Seung Jae / Kim Ha Na (KOR) – 16130
27  Nipitphon Phuangphuapet / Jongkolphan Kititharakul (THA) – 14200 x
31  Mark Lamsfuss / Isabel Herttrich (GER) – 11420
32  Marvin Emil Seidel / Linda Efler (GER) – 11300
33  Satwiksairaj Rankireddy / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) – 10700 x
35  Niclas Nohr / Sara Thygesen (DEN) – 6050
36  Mathias Christiansen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) – 2660
36  Anders Skaarup Rasmussen / Line Kjaersfeldt (DEN) – 2660
36  Dechapol Puavaranukroh / Puttita Supajirakul (THA) – 2660

Men’s doubles leaders Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo are taking a break during French Open week, safe in the knowledge that they will still be invited to Dubai even if they stop playing until then.  In fact, not even the current #8 pair can catch them, not even with three straight titles.

As for the 6th, 7th, and 8th place pairs, things are not so certain.  There are 9 pairs within 12,000 points of Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei / Lee Yang (pictured below).  However, the pair that should have had the best shot, Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi (pictured left), is sitting out the French Open and most of the chasers have been too prone to first-round exits of late.

1  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) – 66630 x
2  Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (JPN) – 55150
3  Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) – 50270
4  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) – 48130
5  Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan (CHN) – 48000
6  Lee Jhe-Huei / Lee Yang (TPE) – 36570
7  Hendra Setiawan (INA) / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) – 36160
8  Mads Conrad Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) – 36060

9  Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi (INA) – 34060 x *
10  Lu Ching Yao / Yang Po Han (TPE) – 31460
10  Takuro Hoki / Yugo Kobayashi (JPN) – 31460
12  Anders Skaarup Rasmussen / Kim Astrup Sorensen (DEN) – 29520 *
13  Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov (RUS) – 27710
14  Chen Hung Ling / Wang Chi Lin (TPE) – 27600
17  Fajar Alfian / Muhammad Rian Ardianto (INA) – 26320 x *
18  Dechapol Puavaranukroh / Kittinupong Kedren (THA) – 26300
19  Or Chin Chung / Tang Chun Man (HKG) – 24570
22  Satwiksairaj Rankireddy / Chirag Shetty (IND) – 20340 x
23  Mathias Christiansen / David Daugaard (DEN) – 19780 *
24  Manu Attri / Sumeeth Reddy (IND) – 19080
26  Berry Angriawan / Hardianto (INA) – 18400 xx *
27  Law Cheuk Him / Lee Chun Hei (HKG) – 18240 x
28  Mohammad Ahsan / Rian Agung Saputro (INA) – 16180 *

Men’s singles has by far the biggest chase pack.  Srikanth Kidambi has the lowest point total among the leaders of the 5 disciplines and, more importantly, the #5 and the #20 players in the current standings are separated by only 10,000 points.  Compare that to the corresponding spans in the other disciplines, which range from 17,000 in men’s doubles to 34,000 in women’s doubles.

In addition, very few players in men’s singles are sitting out some of the last three events.  Among the exceptions are Lee Hyun Il and Wang Tzu Wei.  Wang was the #6 shuttler in September after reaching the Korea Open semi-final but after skipping 3 events in a row, it is highly unlikely he will still be in range when he returns for the Hong Kong Open.  Lee Hyun Il pulled to within 11,000 points with his performance in Odense but his already slim chance became slimmer when the news came in last week that he would not be on court in Fuzhou.

As for Lin Dan, he is missing two in a row, with his last-minute withdrawals from Denmark and France.  He might have a better chance than Wang or Lee but there is also a very strong probability that China will have to arrive in Dubai with only two singles players overall, and maybe even fewer than that.

Among the vulnerable quartet in this discipline are would-be Dubai rookies Shi Yuqi and Wong Wing Ki (pictured above with Lee Chong Wei).  And atop the chase pack are some other players who are in form, entered in all three remaining events, and equally hungry for a first-time appearance at the Superseries Finals.  Chief among these is Korea Open runner-up Jonatan Christie (pictured below).

1  K. Srikanth (IND) – 50300
2  Son Wan Ho (KOR) – 48020
3  Chou Tien Chen (TPE) – 43620
4  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) – 39700 x
5  Shi Yuqi (CHN) – 36870
6  Lee Chong Wei (MAS) – 36790
7  Wong Wing Ki (HKG) – 36020
8  Ng Ka Long (HKG) – 35060

9  Jonatan Christie (INA) – 33350
10  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) – 33240
11  Anthony Ginting (INA) – 32080
12  Sai Praneeth (IND) – 31640
13  Lin Dan (CHN) – 31440 x
14  Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) – 31270
15  Wang Tzu Wei (TPE) – 31150 xx
16  H. S. Prannoy (IND) – 29770
17  Kazumasa Sakai (JPN) – 29690
18  Anders Antonsen (DEN) – 28420
19  Hu Yun (HKG) – 27540 *
20  Chen Long (CHN) – 26880
21  Tommy Sugiarto (INA) – 24940 xx
22  Tian Houwei (CHN) – 24890 x
23  Lee Hyun Il (KOR) – 24250 x
24  Brice Leverdez (FRA) – 23940
25  Huang Yuxiang (CHN) – 22940
26  Lee Dong Keun (KOR) – 21240 x
28  Hsu Jen Hao (TPE) – 20460
29  Kenta Nishimoto (JPN) – 18720
30  Wei Nan (HKG) – 17360 x
31  Sameer Verma (IND) – 16420 x
32  Ajay Jayaram (IND) – 15370 x
33  Qiao Bin (CHN) – 13360
35  Takuma Ueda (JPN) – 10950
38  Kashyap Parupalli (IND) – 7760

 

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net