SUPERSERIES FINALS – Who’s in, who’s close?

With the curtain drawn on the Li-Ning China Open, exactly half the spots have been decided for next month’s Finals.  China has clinched in all but one discipline while Thailand joins them in having one in each event’s top 8 so far.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

There’s nothing like a Premier to shake up the rankings a little, especially when those rankings are for an OSIM BWF World reeling from retirements, suspensions, partner swaps, and a generous helping of pre- and post-Olympic down-time for many stars.

The two biggest movers, once the Badminton World Federation (BWF) publishes the new OSIM BWF World rankings lists this week, will be China’s Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang and Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na (pictured below).  The Chinese pair not only moved up from 15th spot to 5th, but they also benefited from the conspicuous absence of the other two top Chinese pairs, to actually draw level with Olympic champions Tian/Zhao in points and thus qualify ahead of them to get their own major title for 2012, after being denied in both the Olympics and at the All England.

The Koreans, meanwhile, finally leapfrogged ahead of two compatriot pairs who are among many partnerships devastated by the fallout from the Olympic match-throwing fiasco, and hope to ensure that Korea is represented in all three doubles events in the year-ending tournament for the first time.  Jang is also one of only four players, all women, who currently stand to qualify in two categories.  The others are Zhao Yunlei, of course, Christinna Pedersen, and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (pictured below).

At Badzine, we have been keeping track of who is on track to reach the top eight in badminton’s ‘other’ world ranking system, the criteria that must be met for them to be chosen to play for the sport’s third highest-paying tournament, the US$500,000 CR Land BWF World Finals, which will be held from December 12th to 16th in Shenzhen, China.

At the time of writing, the current official rankings track points up to and including the French Open.  We have added in the points earned for the China Open and attempted to assess who has already clinched a spot in the top 8, who is there now with all but the Hong Kong Open results in, and who is still in a position to move up and oust.

The chaser groups in the lists below reflect those pairings that are not entered in the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open this week but the chaser group includes even those who could only qualify by winning the tournament and having the current #8 player or pair withdraw from Hong Kong with no points.  The clinchers, on the other hand, are those who would qualify even if they were to not play Hong Kong and the current #9 player or pair were to win that event.

Men’s singles

This is the most wide open event, going into the Hong Kong Open.  Only Lee Chong Wei and Tago Kenichi have clinched spots in the Finals, while two Danes – including Jan Jorgensen (pictured below right) are closing fast, and even the current #18 Kashyap Parupalli of India has an outside chance of making the top 8 by this time next week.

(* indicates a player who has clinched a spot in the top eight)

1.  Lee Chong Wei (MAS) – 57550 *
2.  Kenichi Tago (JPN) – 49040 *
3.  Hu Yun (HKG) – 47520
4.  Chen Long (CHN) – 47350
5.  Boonsak Ponsana (THA) – 45260
6.  Du Pengyu (CHN) – 44800
7.  Liew Daren (MAS) – 44640
8.  Wang Zhengming (CHN) – 44350
9.  Sho Sasaki (JPN) – 39780
10.  Jan Jorgensen (DEN) – 39290
11.  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) – 38070
12.  Ajay Jayaram (IND) – 38000
13.  Simon Santoso (INA) – 37710
14.  Chen Jin (CHN) – 36720
15.  Chong Wei Feng (MAS) – 36080
16.  Wong Wing Ki (HKG) – 35870
17.  Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE) – 32410
18.  Kashyap Parupalli (IND) – 30870

Women’s singles

Women’s singles has a much shorter chaser list than the men’s singles, with only three shuttlers who still have a hope of changing their fortunes in Hong Kong and making the cut.  In fact, if current #8 (minus the 3rd and 4th Chinese players) Ratchanok Intanon simply shows up for her first round match against Adrianti Firdasari on Wednesday, Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured) would have to make the final to pass her.

The most uncertainty in this discipline is on the matter of which two of the four Chinese players currently in the top 5 will be on top next Sunday.

1.  Li Xuerui (CHN) – 62730 *
2.  Juliane Schenk (GER) – 61930 *
3.  Wang Yihan (CHN) – 56900
4.  Jiang Yanjiao (CHN) – 53220
5.  Wang Shixian (CHN) – 52400
6.  Saina Nehwal (IND) – 51920 *
7.  Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) – 47380
8.  Tine Baun (DEN) – 47240
9.  Eriko Hirose (JPN) – 46960
10.  Ratchanok Intanon (THA) – 42870
11.  Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA) – 38340
12.  Gu Juan (SIN) – 37530
13.  Bae Youn Joo (KOR) – 34240

Men’s doubles

This discipline is almost completely set, with only one spot up for grabs.  Barring injury, only Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong stand to lose their spot although if they show up for their match on Wednesday, even if they lose, it will take a runner-up finish or title for Pratama/Agung Saputra or Cai/Fu, respectively, to pass the Malaysians.

1.  Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) – 54870 * (pictured)
2.  Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) – 52800 *
3.  Hong Wei / Shen Ye (CHN) – 49700 *
4.  Hirokatsu Hashimoto / Noriyasu Hirata (JPN) – 45710 *
5.  Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang (KOR) – 44990 *
6.  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) – 44510 *
7.  Bodin Issara / Maneepong Jongjit (THA) – 39550 *
8.  Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) – 34790
12.  Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra (INA) – 29520
13.  Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng (CHN) – 29060
15.  Patiphat Chalardchaleam / Nipitphon Puangpuapech (THA) – 27170

Women’s Doubles

The women’s doubles, like the two singles disciplines, has more than two Chinese entries currently in the top 8, and with the top team, Bao/Zhong, not competing in Hong Kong together, Tian/Zhao and Wang/Yu could well duke it out in the final for the right to compete north of the border.

The chase pack appears to be led by Japan’s Matsutomo/Takahashi, but as their only chance of qualifying requires them to be one of the top two Japanese pairs, in fact, they would need to be chosen ahead of a pair of compatriots, both of whose point totals are out of reach.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Polii/Jauhari are making their post-Olympic comeback; however, even if Poon/Tse fall at the first hurdle to Bao/Tang, as is very possible, the Indonesians would need to win the Hong Kong title to qualify for Shenzhen.

1.  Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito (JPN) – 61110 *
2.  Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin (CHN) – 58760 *
3.  Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna (JPN) – 47250 *
4.  Eom Hye Won / Jang Ye Na (KOR) – 44900 *
5.  Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) – 39050 (pictured above)
5.  Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) – 39050
7.  Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) – 38740
8.  Duang Anong Aroonkesorn / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (THA) – 38690
9.  Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) – 37250
10.  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) – 35620 (pending injury only)
12.  Gresya Polii / Meiliana Jauhari (INA) – 30310
14.  Anneke Feinya Agustine / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (INA) – 29870

Mixed doubles

Mixed is the only discipline that will have to wait for the final week’s rankings to see all the disbanded pairs knocked out of the top eight.  Ikeda and the retired Shiota still cling to the #6 spot, though that will change with the Hong Kong results.

The chase group behind Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul is actually rather thin because of so many pairs having split or otherwise not intending to compete in Hong Kong.  The most realistic chance is for Rijal/Susanto, who may get the chance to prove they deserve a Finals spot against Yoo/Jang in the second round.

1.  Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) – 74600 *
2.  Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (MAS) – 67450 * (pictured)
3.  Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir (INA) – 64110 *
4.  Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA) – 39740 *
5.  Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) – 33310

6.  Shintaro Ikeda / Reiko Shiota (JPN) – 31120
7.  Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) – 30170
8.  Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na (KOR) – 29480
9.  Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (THA) – 28980

10.  Muhammad Rijal / Debby Susanto (INA) – 27330
13.  Noriyasu Hirata / Miyuki Maeda (JPN) – 25640
18.  Fran Kurniawan / Shendy Puspa Irawati (INA) – 23070
22.  Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Neo Yu Yan Vanessa (SIN) – 21060

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