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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Dubai World Superseries Finals: Pusarla Sindhu hopes to round off successful season 'on a high'

The Indian shuttler was bracketed alongside top seed Akane Yamaguchi and Sayake Sato, both from Japan, and China’s He Binghiao in Pool A in the draw held at the Dubai Sports Council on Monday

From left: 2016 men's Dubai World Superseries champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Pusarla V Sindhu of India, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia and England's Gabrielle Adcock at the launch of the 2017 Dubai World Superseries Finals held at the Dubai World Sports Council. Courtesy Seven Media
From left: 2016 men's Dubai World Superseries champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Pusarla V Sindhu of India, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia and England's Gabrielle Adcock at the launch of the 2017 Dubai World Superseries Finals held at the Dubai World Sports Council. Courtesy Seven Media

Pusarla Sindhu, the Olympic and World Championship silver medallist, wants to round off an already successful season on a high at the season-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals.

The Indian shuttler was bracketed alongside top seed Akane Yamaguchi and Sayake Sato, both from Japan, and China’s He Binghiao in Pool A in the draw held at the Dubai Sports Council on Monday.

Heading Pool B is the 2014 and 2016 winner Tai Tzu Ying along with Sung Ji Hyun, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and China’s Chen Yufei.

“It has been a really good season so far,” said Sindhu ahead of the US$1 million (Dh3.67m) tournament to be held at the Hamdan Sports Complex from Wednesday to Sunday.

“The silver medals at the Olympics and the World Championship were the highlights of the year. Then I won two Superseries and was runner-up in one, and hope I can round it off on a high in Dubai.”

Sindhu believes her performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics was a turning point in her career.

“After the Olympics, I have gained a lot of confidence,” she said. “It has really helped me. I have kept on improving since then. I won my first Superseries after the Olympics and [finished] runner-up in Hong Kong.

“Overall I have learnt a lot from that experience. Learning gets never over. It’s just that I need to keep working hard and improve my game at every given opportunity.”

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Sindhu has a large fan base in Dubai. Given the expectations following her recent successes, she said it was important to keep calm under pressure.

“The expectations are always there and now it’s more, especially after the Olympics," she said.

“I know the fans want me to win every tournament but I need to keep calm and keep going. It’s also a matter of giving your best in every tournament and that’s what I always do."

Looking ahead to 2018, Sindhu faces a busy schedule with the Asian and Commonwealth Games, the Worlds and the Superseries as her priorities.

“Next year isn’t going to be easy for anyone of us,” she said. “It’s a hectic schedule but we need to plan it accordingly. There are so many tournaments and every single tournament is important for us.”

In the men’s draw, Group A is sprinkled with stardust with Olympic champion Chen Long, Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei, top seed Son Won Ho of South Korea, and Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus set to face off.

Group B is made up of world and defending Dubai champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark alongside Kidambi Srikanth of India, China’s Shi Yuqui and Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.

Axelsen said he was excited by the prospect of facing China’s Shi for the first time.

“I’m looking forward to that game,” he said. “I don’t know what to say other than to acknowledge that every game in this competition is going to be tough. But I always enjoy playing here and looking forward to it.”

Only the eight top-ranked players from the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles have earned a place in Dubai.