Chinese head home to add to Dubai 7

The Superseries takes a 2-week break before the China Open, where the hosts will attempt to add what is so far their smallest ever invitation list for the Superseries Finals […]

The takes a 2-week break before the , where the hosts will attempt to add what is so far their smallest ever invitation list for the Finals as former world #1s Chen Long and Lin Dan are among those still without a ticket to Dubai.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Two events remain in the 2017 BWF World Superseries and by finals day at the , six more players and pairs had assured themselves of invitations to the season-ending in Dubai.  However, in what is still the most wide open of fields, apart from Son Wan Ho, the former world #1s in men’s singles are either long shots (such as Chen Long and Lin Dan, pictured top) out of the running (Lee Hyun Il) or in jeopardy (Lee Chong Wei).

In fact, only one change in the tentative top 8 occurred in Paris and it was just a trade between the top two Chinese women’s singles players.  In that category, it is highly unlikely that both He Bingjiao and Chen Yufei (pictured above) could both qualify and in all, Chinese shuttlers may well find themselves struggling to stay above an all-time low of 7 qualifiers for the season finale.

In men’s singles, India’s Srikanth Kidambi (pictured below) is the only one to have mathematically clinched his Dubai ticket.  In other words, even if he were to stop playing and current #9 Anthony Ginting were to win both the China and Hong Kong Opens, the Indian would remain safely in the top 8.

Once again, the bottom three shuttlers are the ones in the danger zone, with Ginting within 3,000 points of all of them and many other talented players not far behind.  One name that jumps out on this list is Lee Chong Wei (pictured left).  The four-time champion has dropped to 8th spot and if he suffers more early exits in the final leg of the Superseries, he could be caught and passed by any number of players in the chase pack.

Even more notable are names not currently in the top 8.  After sitting out the European leg, 2011 winner Lin Dan has dropped down to #17, nearly 8,000 points off the pace, and two-time champion Chen Long is about 1,000 points further down.  Of course, either player is entirely capable of jumping right back in the game with a China Open title, for example, but they have also appeared quite vulnerable especially in recent months.

Even Shi Yuqi is not out of the woods but with a 4,000-point cushion over the current top chaser, he stands the best chance of being one of the few Dubai rookies in the men’s singles discipline.  Wong Wing Ki has also been pencilled in for his first trip to the United Arab Emirates but the other ten would-be first-timers are peppered throughout the chase pack.

Tentative qualifiers: (see explanation below)

1  K. Srikanth (IND) – 59500
2  Son Wan Ho (KOR) – 50240
3  Chou Tien Chen (TPE) – 45840
4  Shi Yuqi (CHN) – 41910
5  Ng Ka Long (HKG) – 40100
6  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) – 39700
7  Wong Wing Ki (HKG) – 39620
8  Lee Chong Wei (MAS) – 39010

Anthony Ginting (INA) – 37120 (pictured right)
10  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) – 36840
11  H. S. Prannoy (IND) – 36190
12  Jonatan Christie (INA) – 35570
13  Sai Praneeth (IND) – 35240
14  Anders Antonsen (DEN) – 34840
15  Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) – 33490
16  Kazumasa Sakai (JPN) – 31910
17  Lin Dan (CHN) – 31440
18  Wang Tzu Wei (TPE) – 31150 x
19  Hu Yun (HKG) – 31140
20  Chen Long (CHN) – 30480
21  Brice Leverdez (FRA) – 27540
22  Kenta Nishimoto (JPN) – 26520
23  Lee Hyun Il (KOR) – 26470 x
24  Huang Yuxiang (CHN) – 25160
26  Tian Houwei (CHN) – 24890
27  Lee Dong Keun (KOR) – 21240
28  Rajiv Ouseph (GBR) – 21020 x
29  Hsu Jen Hao (TPE) – 20460

Women’s singles saw another switch in the neck-and-neck race between He Bingjiao and Chen Yufei for the last spot.  This was the only change in any of the five top 8 lists that occurred in Paris but this discipline is almost completely set.  Both Paris finalists – Akane Yamaguchi and Tai Tzu Ying (pictured) – mathematically clinched their Dubai berths over the course of the week, Sung Ji Hyun’s spot will be assured if she so much as steps on court in both Fuzhou and Hong Kong, and P. V. Sindhu needs just one win to cement her position

In fact, with Carolina Marin enjoying a margin of more than 10,000 points over Chen Yufei, it is highly unlikely that any but He Bingjiao’s spot will change hands this month.  Sayaka Sato is out of the race so the most realistic challenger to either of the Chinese ladies is Saina Nehwal (pictured below).  She hasn’t lit the Superseries up so far this year but the World Championship semi-finalist could certainly spring a performance to help her leapfrog Chen and He.

Saina will meet the other major contender for snatching 8th place – Zhang Beiwen – in the opening round of the China Open.  Then a week later, she is slated to meet Chen in the second round in Hong Kong, where Zhang Beiwen will meet He in the first.  Thus it could be that the suspense will be resolved early for that last spot.

1  Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) – 67670
2  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) – 64170

3  Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) – 58160
4  P. V. Sindhu (IND) – 54190
5  Ratchanok Intanon (THA) – 53600
6  Carolina Marin (ESP) – 51340
7  Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) – 45360 x

8  He Bingjiao (CHN) – 41800
9  Sayaka Sato (JPN) – 41270
10  Chen Yufei (CHN) – 40830
11  Saina Nehwal (IND) – 36360
12  Zhang Beiwen (USA) – 34900
14  Kim Hyo Min (KOR) – 30150
16  Nitchaon Jindapon (THA) – 29260 x
17  Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA) – 28100 x
18  Yip Pui Yin (HKG) – 24430 x
19  Chiang Mei Hui (TPE) – 24340
20  Cheung Ngan Yi (HKG) – 23400 x
21  Lee Chia Hsin (TPE) – 21640

Men’s doubles is half set.  Both Boe/Mogensen and Kamura/Sonoda clinched their spots last week and Li/Liu will clinch theirs by showing up in Fuzhou and Hong Kong.  French Open winners Lee/Lee improved their lot but there are still 8 pairs with a mathematical chance of catching them, were they to stop playing.

Setiawan/Tan and Mads Conrad Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured below) are in the precarious positions but many pairs in the chase pack have been suffering early exits lately.  What’s more, the four lead pursuers – led, in turn, py Takuro Hoki / Yugo Kobayashi (pictured left) are all packed into the same quarter at the China Open, along with Kamura and Sonoda so the outcome of this 8-pair playoff may well determine who has the last hope heading to Hong Kong.

1  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) – 66630
2  Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (JPN) – 58750
3  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) – 55930
4  Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan (CHN) – 54420

5  Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) – 52490
6  Lee Jhe-Huei / Lee Yang (TPE) – 45770
7  Mads Conrad Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) – 39660
8 Hendra Setiawan (INA) / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) – 38380

9  Takuro Hoki / Yugo Kobayashi (JPN) – 36500
10  Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi (INA) – 34060
11  Lu Ching Yao / Yang Po Han (TPE) – 33680
12  Anders Skaarup Rasmussen / Kim Astrup Sorensen (DEN) – 33120
13  Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov (RUS) – 32750
14  Fajar Alfian / Muhammad Rian Ardianto (INA) – 31360 x
15  Chen Hung Ling / Wang Chi Lin (TPE) – 29820
16  Dechapol Puavaranukroh / Kittinupong Kedren (THA) – 28520
18  Or Chin Chung / Tang Chun Man (HKG) – 26790
21  Mathias Christiansen / David Daugaard (DEN) – 22000
22  Manu Attri / Sumeeth Reddy (IND) – 21300
25  Mohammad Ahsan / Rian Agung Saputro (INA) – 19780
28  Law Cheuk Him / Lee Chun Hei (HKG) – 18240

Women’s doubles is still one of the most interesting races, even though it is nearly set.  The fourth Japanese pair may have fallen by the wayside but the top three are likely to keep battling it out for two spots in Dubai.  Matsutomo/Takahashi displacing Fukushima/Hirota was the only other change in the qualifier list from last week although all 4 Japanese pairs were and remain in the actual top 8.  The current top two are slated to meet in the China Open quarters but even that comes after tricky first matches for both.

What continues to be an interesting factor is the sitting duck pair of Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan.  They haven’t competed together since Japan but the three pairs best placed to catch them have World or Olympic Champions ranged against them in the early rounds in Fuzhou.  Among these, Korea Open winners Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (pictured) cannot advance without beating the Olympic gold medallists in the second round, while Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy (pictured below) cannot reach the quarter-final without beating world #1 Chen/Jia.

This could open the door for French Open champions Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu (pictured bottom) to catch up.  After Shin Seung Chan was unable to hold them back in Paris, the Indonesians will begin their China Open campaign by taking on Lee So Hee in yet another new Korean pairing with Kim Hye Rin.

Women’s doubles is also the discipline with the greatest potential for rookie involvement.  Of the current 16 pencilled in, 6 would be making first trips to Dubai.  In addition, Yuki Fukushima, Sayaka Hirota, Yu Xiaohan, and Apriyani Rahayu are all working on adding to that number.  Yu and Rahayu may get the chance to help themselves as well as the Japanese pair as each will get a chance to deal Matsutomo and Takahashi an early defeat in Hong Kong.

1  Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) – 58940
2  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) – 56660

3  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) – 56100
4  Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) – 54570 xx
5  Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) – 53140
6  Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao (JPN) – 45250 x
7  Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) – 44130
8  Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) – 37220 xx
9  Hsu Ya Ching / Wu Ti Jung (TPE) – 31420
10  Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy (IND) – 27880

11  Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN) – 27650
12  Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai (THA) – 24880 x
13  Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu (INA) – 24820
14  Maiken Fruergaard / Sara Thygesen (DEN) – 24560
16  Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) – 23500
17  Gabriela Stoeva / Stefani Stoeva (BUL) – 22940
22  Chiang Kai Hsin / Hung Shih Han (TPE) – 17800
24  Vivian Hoo / Woon Khe Wei (MAS) – 16740
25  Lin Xiao Min / Wu Fang Chien (TPE) – 16400

Mixed doubles sees the top 2 pairs leave the fray and 7 others join it after sitting out France and in some cases Denmark as well.  World #1 Zheng/Chen finally clinched their spot for Dubai right before they are disbanded for the last two tournaments.  Lu/Huang are also separated but Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping can only catch the All England champions if they collect the last two titles on the tour.

Kenta Kazuno / Ayane Kurihara (pictured) would have been in a much more precarious position at the end of the qualifying list if the top 5 pairs in the chase pack hadn’t sat out the European leg of the Superseries along with them.  Still, as Goh/Lai and Chopra/Reddy were unable to keep their runs of form going in Paris, only one additional pair – Lee Yang and Hsu Ya Ching (pictured below) – is breathing down the Japanese veterans’ necks.

1  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) – 58820 xx
2  Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) – 57470 xx
3  Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) – 46090
4  Praveen Jordan / Debby Susanto (INA) – 41700

5  Wang Yilu / Huang Dongping (CHN) – 38110
6  Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) – 38010
7  Tan Kian Meng / Lai Pei Jing (MAS) – 36570
8  Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) – 34880
9  Kenta Kazuno / Ayane Kurihara (JPN) – 29360

10  Zhang Nan / Li Yinhui (CHN) – 26710 xx
12  Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) – 26110
13  Wang Chi-Lin / Lee Chia Hsin (TPE) – 26100
14  Lee Yang / Hsu Ya Ching (TPE) – 25740
15  Bodin Issara / Savitree Amitrapai (THA) – 24100 x
16  Lu Ching Yao / Chiang Kai Hsin (TPE) – 23010 x
18  Goh Soon Huat / Shevon Jemie Lai (MAS) – 22880
19  Pranaav Jerry Chopra / Sikki Reddy (IND) – 22440
22  Yuta Watanabe / Arisa Higashino (JPN) – 21340 x
23  Yugo Kobayashi / Misaki Matsutomo (JPN) – 21000
24  Seo Seung Jae / Kim Ha Na (KOR) – 19730
25  Takuro Hoki / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) – 19380
31  Mark Lamsfuss / Isabel Herttrich (GER) – 13640
32  Marvin Emil Seidel / Linda Efler (GER) – 13520
40  Satwiksairaj Rankireddy / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) – 10700

In the above 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 2 titles and the former be unable to play in the first round in 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 10 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 French Open but the official Superseries standings will be available later in the week from the BWF.

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 @