The qualifying Thai players in this week’s HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 are mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, women’s doubles duo Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai, and women’s singles stars Ratchanok Intanon and Pornpawee Chochuwong (pictured left).
The list of players qualified for the World Tour Finals was determined at the conclusion of the Toyota Thailand Open on Sunday. The top-eight players and pairs for each category in the HSBC BWF Road to Bangkok Rankings got berths in the season finale, with eligibility limited to two players or pairs per member association.
The World Tour Finals is the last of three consecutive events in the Asian leg, which is being held behind closed doors at Bangkok’s Muang Thong Thani under strict COVID-19 protocols. It follows the Yonex Thailand Open and the Toyota Thailand Open.
Red-hot Dechapol and Sapsiree have won the first two events and are third in the Road to Bangkok Rankings. The women’s singles competition is led by Spain’s Carolina Marin.
The other seven athletes in the category are Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying, Ratchanok, An Se-Young of South Korea, Pornpawee, Canada’s Michelle Li, Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia and India’s Pusarla V Sindhu.
Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrunphan is ranked eighth but missed out on a place in the season-ending event because each country can have a maximum of two players/pairs in each category.
Ratchachok will be hoping to end the season on a high note after squandering a couple of match points in the third game in her 2-1 loss to Tai in last week’s semi-finals.
Olympic champion Marin will be the player to beat, having claimed the first two titles in the Asian leg with wins over Tai in both finals. The top four spots in the men’s singles event are occupied by players from Denmark and Taiwan.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen are No.1 and No.2 in the rankings respectively, with Taiwanese stars Chou Tien-chen and Wang Tzu-wei third and fourth respectively.
The other four are Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong, Kidambi Srikanth of India, Lee Zii Jia from Malaysia and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.
Axelsen is hot favourite to complete a hat-trick of titles in the Asian leg.
In the women’s doubles contest, Jongkolphan and Rawinda are sixth in the Road to Bangkok Rankings. They reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open and quarter-finals at the Toyota event. The category is spearheaded by Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.
Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin lead the field in the men’s doubles.
The tournament starts on January 27th and ends on Sunday January 31st.