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.
The draw for the five categories was conducted today in the presence of media, top officials from Chinese Badminton Association and host organisers Guangzhou Sports Bureau, as well as BWF’s Principal Global Partner and title sponsor of the World Tour, HSBC.
Among those who helped pick the draw were BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer; President and CEO of HSBC China, David Liao; and Yang Wei, Olympic gold medallist.
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.”
In men’s singles, two-time world champion Kento Momota, who fell at the final hurdle last year, will have to contend with Jonatan Christie, Wang Tzu Wei and Anders Antonsen in Group A.
Group B might well be the ‘group of death’, for it has four evenly-matched contestants in Chou Tien Chen, Chen Long, Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting.
Women’s singles defending champion Pusarla V Sindhu is in Group A with Chen Yu Fei, Akane Yamaguchi and He Bing Jiao, while Group B has Ratchanok Intanon, Nozomi Okuhara, two-time season finale winner Tai Tzu Ying and Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
In men’s doubles, top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo can expect some tough challenges early on in Group A against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, defending champions Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen, and Asian champions Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe.
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.
The two Chinese women’s doubles pairs – Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan and Du Yue/Li Yin Hui – find themselves in Group A with Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu.
World champions Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara are grouped with Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong, Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai and Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan.