India’s only participant in BWF World Tour Final, ace shuttler PV Sindhu, will be hoping to wrap up the year in style as she faces top shuttlers of the world in Guangzhou, China which is set to begin on December 11.
As the defending champion, Sindhu will have a tough ask at the tournament who will have to rise above steep challenges as she hasn't been in form following her triumph at the World Championships. In fact, Sindhu had a lacklustre year except for her win at World Championships, which also had several pre-quarterfinal eliminations.
Who is Sindhu up against?
The draw for the World Tour Finals came out on Monday, in which she has been paired alongside Japan's Akane Yamaguchi, and China's Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao. She will start her campaign against Yamaguchi on Wednesday. Sindhu, who is currently ranked 6th in the world, will face opponents who are at the top seven in the world.
The other group comprises world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying, Nozomi Okuhara, Ratchanok Intanon and Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
The top two players from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.
As Sindhu and Yamaguchi have been struggling for form in the second half of the year, Yufei and Bingjiao would start as favourites in the group.
Current world number one, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying got the better of the Indian at the French Open earlier this year. Tai Tzu, who suffered an injury at the China Open last month, will be making a comeback at the World Tour Finals and remains top contender for the title.
Apart from Tai Tzu, Sindhu’s other competitors include Yufei, who bagged six titles in the past season and made it till the semi-finals stage in all but one of the competitions. However, a win over Sindhu has eluded her, who lost to the Indian at the World Championships and the Indonesia Open this year.
The BWF World Tour Finals 2019 could also see a flash of the Sindhu-Okuhara rivalry. The two played out that thrilling, a two-hour-long match in the final of the 2017 BWF World Championship, which was dubbed by many the ‘match of the year.’ Okuhara emerged victorious with a scoreline of 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 on that occasion but Sindhu exacted her revenge the next two seasons at the World Championships, with the game in 2019 lasting a mere 38 minutes.
In men’s singles, world No 1 Kento Momota has been clubbed with Jonatan Christie, Wang Tzu Wei and Anders Antonsen in Group A while Group B will have Chou Tien Chen, Chen Long, Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting.