The HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019 is the final tournament of the 2019 BWF World Tour. It will be held from 11 to 15 December 2019 in Guangzhou, China and has a total prize of $1,500,000 – get an overview of the draws here!
Sindhu avoids a though draw
Reigning world champion PV Sindhu has been drawn in Group A alongside China’s Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi. Sindhu did not feature in the top 8 of the BWF Race to Guangzhou Rankings but made it to the year-ending tournament by virtue of being the world champion. Sindhu ended her gold medal-drought this year by finishing on the top step of the podium at the World Championships in Basel. Sindhu has avoided the likes of World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying and former world champion Nozomi Okuhara as they have been drawn in Group B alongside Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan. PV Sindhu has been struggling for consistency. The Rio Olympic silver medallist has not won a title on the tour in 2019 barring her win at the World Championships. Since the world meet in August, Sindhu has not gone past the quarter-final round on the tour and has suffered an array of early exits. Barring PV Sindhu, no other Indian shuttler qualified for BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou.
The BWF World Tour Finals 2019 could also see a revival of the Sindhu-Okuhara rivalry which has added some spice to women’s badminton in the past few years. 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. Sindhu holds the slender advantage in the head-to-head record against Okuhara, but the Japanese shuttler has been in better form this campaign, having made it to the final in four tournaments thus far. The other women’s singles shuttlers in the fray will be Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand – both of whom have had better seasons than Sindhu. Nevertheless, the Indian shuttler’s big game prowess cannot be understated heading into the BWF World Tour Finals 2019.
Momota will be leading the men’s singles
Meanwhile, Kento Momota, World No. 1, will be leading the men’s singles field at the Tour Finals. He has been drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, Denmark’s Anders Antonsen and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. Momota’s stellar defensive game and brisk movements across to the court has been a nightmare for fellow shuttlers, and much of the same can be expected to continue come the World Tour Finals. The two-time world champion Kento Momota, who fell at the final hurdle last year, will have to contend with Jonatan Christie, who defeated him earlier in the year at the Malaysia Open. Similarly, Antonsen managed to record a well-fought three-game win over the Japanese superstar back in January at the Indonesia Masters. Despite this, an overall healthy record gives Momota confidence to top the group. The battle for second place will be a fascinating watch. Antonsen and Christie played all their five career encounters in 2019, with the head to head slightly in the Indonesian’s favour at 3-2. Wang Tzu Wei, who is more than capable of a big performance, may well have a big say in comes out of this group.
Reigning Olympic champion Chen Long has been drawn in Group B alongside Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting and Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. Group B is very even on paper, which is excellent news for the fans. The opening games, as a result, may prove to be crucial, with two former world champions, Viktor Axelsen and Chen Long due to clash on the opening day. Although Axelsen has scored two wins against the reigning Olympic champion this year, Chen Long took a tight three-game thriller at the Denmark Open semifinal, which may be in the back of the Dane’s mind in Guangzhou.
Favorites in the men’s doubles
In the men’s doubles segment, the Indonesian pair of Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo, fondly nicknamed as the ‘minions’ have been the most dominant team. The duo has won seven titles this year and will be the favourites heading into the World Tour Finals. World champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan will have to contend with Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin, Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in Group B.
Draws in the mixed doubles
Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, in the quest for the only major title that has eluded them as a pair, start their campaign in a difficult group at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019. The world No.1 duo have won the World Championships and all three Super 1000 titles this year and can claim a calendar ‘Super Grand Slam’ if they add the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals trophy to their collection. However, they will have to reckon with three pairs in Group B, all of whom have beaten them at least once – Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti, Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.
Defending mixed doubles champions Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping were drawn into Group A with top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Seo Seung Jae/Chae YuJung, and Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying. “We are satisfied with the draw since the two Chinese pairs are in different groups,” said Zheng, who added that the other three teams in Group B were all potentially dangerous challengers. “We have lost to the three pairs, and they are all playing well – particularly the Japanese pair (Watanabe/Higashino), who have been in form recently. We will treat each match like a final. We’re confident of winning the title, but during the match we won’t think too much about it.”
BWF World Tour Finals 2019 format
The eight participating shuttlers will be split into two groups of four where each participant will play the other three in their group once. After the group stage is done, the top two ranked players advance to the semifinals, where the winner of the first group plays the runner-up of the second group and vice versa. The winners of the two semifinals then play each other in the final.