HS Prannoy, India’s solitary participant at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, has been drawn with world No 1 Viktor Axelsen at the ceremony that took place on Monday.
Prannoy (world No 12) was drawn alongside Axelsen, and the two seeded players will be joined by China’s Lu Guang Zu (world No 17) and Japan’s Kodai Naraoka (world No 14) to complete the quartet.
Prannoy is making his debut in the prestigious season-ending tournament on the BWF World Tour and will fancy his chances of finishing top two in the group.
Group B will feature Chou Tien Chen, Loh Kean Yew, Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie.
Prannoy has a 1-5 Head-to-Head against Axelsen, who is the outright favourite in Bangkok, but won the last meeting between the two last November. His H2H against Lu is 0-1, with the Chinese shuttler winning a gruelling three-game battle at the French Open recently. Prannoy’s record against Kodai Naraoka is also 0-1, with the rising Japanese youngster winning their meeting at Singapore Open earlier this year.
I am really excited to start my BWF World Tour Finals campaign. It’s my first time in the year-ending championships and I hope I can perform really well,” said Prannoy as per Badminton Association of India.
PV Sindhu is the lone Indian shuttler to win the prestigious season-ending championships, when she triumphed in 2018.
Prannoy has had a consistent run this year with some big-match performances along the way, which helped him regain his position in the top-15 of BWF World Rankings almost after four years.
Prannoy helped the Indian team clinch their first Thomas Cup crown in May and also finished runner-up finish at the Swiss Open Super 300 and reached the last four stage of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 and Malaysia Masters Super 500 event. He reached at least the quarterfinals in seven other events.
“He has performed significantly for long time and it’s time for him to win the title,” said Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of BAI. “His ability to defeat top players of the world, at any given day, makes him a strong contender to end up at the top of the podium at this year’s BWF World Tour Finals.”
A total of 24 qualifying events all around the world – including 19 HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments – were played beginning with the India Open 2022 in January this year.
The by-invitation Finals features the top eight players and pairs on the BWF World Tour Rankings for the season, with a maximum of two players or pairs per Member Association eligible. The current world champions gain automatic entry.
PV Sindhu (women’s singles) was one of the three withdrawals since the rankings were released with Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida (women’s doubles), and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (mixed doubles) also out with injury. They have been replaced by Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Indonesia), Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (Indonesia), and Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran (Thailand) respectively – all being the next player or pair in the rankings.
Players will be competing for a total prize pool of US$1.5 million.
The likes of Viktor Axelsen, Chen Yu Fei, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong ensured their qualification early in the season.
In men’s singles top seed Axelsen will look to sign off on another great season while Chou Tien Chen, Prannoy HS, Jonatan Christie, Kodai Naraoka, Lu Guang Zu, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Loh Kean Yew will attempt to upset his quest for the title.
Women’s singles Group A sees several blockbuster clashes with Chen Yu Fei, An Se Young, and Akane Yamaguchi all grouped together. Women’s doubles Group B is also hotly contested with Chinese pairings of Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu and Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan up against Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan and Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti.
Men’s singles Group B is stacked with Chou Tien Chen, Jonatan Christie, Loh Kean Yew, and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, while BWF World Championships 2022 finalists Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik will clash again in men’s doubles Group B.
Day 1 competition begins 11am on Wednesday 7 December 2022. The knockout draw for the semifinals will take place on Friday evening at the conclusion of the final group matches.
Prannoy begins his campaign with a match against Kodai Naraoka.
The Order of Play will be published here on Tuesday.
Manisha Ramadass wins annual award
Viktor Axelsen and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong’s extraordinary dominance this season was honoured as they won the BWF Player of the Year Awards in their respective categories this evening. The BWF Female Player of the Year was won by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, who achieved the rare honour of winning back-to-back BWF World Championships titles within a nine-month period.
BWF Male Player of the Year: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
BWF Female Player of the Year: Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)
BWF Pair of the Year: Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong (China)
BWF Most Improved Player of the Year: Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Indonesia)
Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year: Kodai Naraoka (Japan)
BWF Male Para Badminton Player of the Year: Daiki Kajiwara (Japan)
BWF Female Para Badminton Player of the Year: Manisha Ramadass (India)
BWF Para Badminton Pair of the Year: Thomas Wandschneider/Rick Cornell Hellman (Germany)
Corrections and clarifications: The ranks for Kodai Naraoka and Lu Guang Zu have been swapped.