PV Sindhu has been handed a relatively good draw on paper for the BWF World Tour Finals while Lakshya Sen and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have a tough task on their hands as the tournament begins on Wednesday in Bali with the group play.
Sindhu is placed along with Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong, Germany’s Yvonne Li and Denmark’s Line Christophersen. While in-form Chochuwong starts as the favoured player in the group, Sindhu has a positive head-to-head record against all three players. Sindhu, a former winner of the prestigious tournament, has avoided both An Seyoung and Akane Yamaguchi in her group, the two most in-form players in women’s singles at the moment.
Sen is in the men’s singles pool alongside Danish duo Viktor Axelsen, Rasmus Gemke and Kento Momota in a tough group. Olympic champion Axelsen has had a fantastic 2021 and has now displaced Momota as the world No 1 after his Indonesia Open triumph on Sunday.
Srikanth Kidambi has been pitted alongside All England champion Lee Zii Jia, Thailand’s rising star Kunlavut Vitidsarn and France’s Toma Junior Popov. While Malaysia’s Lee starts as the overwhelming favourite here, on paper, the former world No 1 from India has been handed a good draw to progress to the semifinals.
As for India’s first-ever men’s doubles pairing at the event, Satwik-Chirag face world No 1 Marcus Gideon-Kevin Sukamuljo, Kim Astrup-Anders Rasmussen and Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin in their group. The Indonesians, known as Minions, have a 10-0 record against the Indian pair who, on the other hand, defeated Tokyo 2020 champs Lee and Wang in the group stage at the Olympics.
In women’s doubles Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy are in the same group as Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida, Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva, Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith.
The top two players / pairs from each group will proceed to the knockout.
It will be the best ever representation for India at the year-end tournament with as many as seven of them qualifying for the $150,000 event.