Dubai World Superseries Finals draw delivers Rio Olympics final rematch between Marin and Sindhu
DUBAI // Indian fans will probably gasp looking at the women’s singles draw of the Dubai World Superseries Finals.
PV Sindhu, a rising star and the country’s sole representative at the season-ending tournament, has been handed an early clash with Carolina Marin, the Spaniard who beat her in the final at the Rio Olympics, after being drawn in the same group.
Winner of the China Open and finalist at the Hong Kong Open, the final two events on the Superseries calendar, Sindhu will also have to contend with second-seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and China’s Sun Yu for the two semi-final spots up for grabs in Group B of the women’s singles.
Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, the new world No 1 and top seed here, is in Group A alongside South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and China’s He Bingjiao.
“This is how it is in women’s singles at the moment,” said Thomas Lund, the secretary general of Badminton World Federation, at Monday’s draw at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai’s Festival City.
“The competition has been very tough in women’s singles this year and I have really enjoyed it because it has been so unpredictable.
“So nobody is assured of going through to the semi-final or final stages. The top seeds, obviously, will be favourites to reach the semis and finals, but nobody is assured of anything.
“So it is going to be a really exciting tournament and the fans are definitely going to enjoy, no matter who goes through.”
In the men’s singles, top seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, who became the first non-Asian to win the China Open last month, has been drawn with China’s Tian Houwei, German Marc Zwiebler and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in Group A, while Jorgensen’s compatriot Viktor Axelsen, the bronze medallist at the Rio Games, is drawn alongside Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, South Korea’s Son Wan-ho and Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong in Group B.
China’s Chen Long, the Rio gold medallist, turned down his wild card invitation for this tournament, but Jorgensen does not believe that makes the competition any easier.
“Even though Chen Long is missing, you still have such a strong field,” said Jorgensen, who will be looking to close a memorable year, during which he also won the Thomas Cup with Denmark, on a high.
“You have a huge game between Carolina Marin and PV Sindhu in the group stages in the women’s singles. Matches like this add spice to the tournament. They really need to play well to go through, and it’s the same in men’s singles.
“It has been a long season and I have travelled a lot. Since the Olympics, I had a good run but I must say, up and down. But yeah, overwhelmed and proud to be the first non-Asian to win the China Open.
“It’s a huge result for me, a big step in my career. And to do that in the same year we won the Thomas Cup, it’s been quite a year.”
What: Dubai World Superseries Finals
Where: Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai
When: Wednesday to Sunday. Matches start at 9am on the first three days and go on until 9pm. On Saturday, the semi-finals will start from 10am, while the finals will be held from 1pm on Sunday.
Who is here? The top eight men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles players in the Superseries rankings, which includes several Rio Olympic gold medal winners.
Tickets: On sale at www.ticketmaster.ae. Prices start from Dh25, with those under 18 years entering for free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
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Updated: December 12, 2016 04:00 AM