SS FINALS 2016 Day 2 – Sun one of 6 rookies to book semis spots

China’s Sun Yu beat P. V. Sindhu to become one of six first-time participants in the Superseries Finals to book a berth in the semi-finals, while only 5 of 20 […]

China’s Sun Yu beat P. V. Sindhu to become one of six first-time participants in the Finals to book a berth in the semi-finals, while only 5 of 20 spots are still up for grabs.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat / Badmintonphoto (live)

In a reversal of the China Open final result, China’s Sun Yu (pictured) got the better of Olympic silver medallist Pusarla Venkata Sindhu to become the only player in the women’s singles Group B to book her spot in the semi-finals of the ongoing World in Dubai.  In each discipline, one group already has its two semi-final qualifiers already determined and one group has only one confirmed semi-finalist but Sun Yu’s group is by far the most wide open.

Group B is the only group in the tournament where each of the four players still has the chance of reaching the semi-finals.  Even the so far winless Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin is not yet out as the possibility still exists for a three-way tie for the top or bottom spot in the group, in terms of match results.  However, even if Sun ends up in a three-way tie with Sindhu and Akane Yamaguchi and she all having two wins and one loss, her two straight-game wins mean that she will have to be one of the two to advance.

On the other hand, Marin can still force a three-way tie at the bottom but only if she can repeat the success she enjoyed over Sindhu in Rio.  Even if the Spaniard wins, she will still be depending on Sun to beat Yamaguchi in straight games.

The only Olympic gold medallists who have already booked their spots in the semis are Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi.  The pair, who were recently named BWF Players of the Year, will play Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee for the top spot in their group.

In mixed doubles, both the Olympic gold medallists and the world #1 went out of the competition when the former, Ahmad/Natsir, withdrew from their match due to Liliyana Natsir’s knee injury.  World #1 Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na were relying on the Indonesians to beat the Danes, which would have held out the possibility of a three-way tie in that group but the retirement meant that Fischer Nielsen/Pedersen would advance, along with Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto (pictured), who beat Ko/Kim in straight games.

World #1s Tai Tzu Ying and Goh/Tan have both booked their spots in the final four but Lee Chong Wei will have to duke it out with Viktor Axelsen to see which one will accompany Son Wan Ho to the semis.  Son beat Axelsen in three, meaning that he will top his group regardless of whether he loses his match against Ng Ka Long.

In addition to Goh V Shem, Sun Yu, and Lee So Hee, Chen Chingchen and both of her partners have qualified for the semis in their first appearance at the Superseries Finals.  Shin Seung Chan has a chance, if she and Jung Kyung Eun can beat Pedersen/Rytter Juhl.  Also Sindhu has a chance to join the other rookies.  Two more rookies are sure to appear in Saturday’s semi-finals but Friday’s match in the men’s doubles Group A will determine whether it is Gideon/Sukamuljo or Kamura/Sonoda.

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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 @