Five to watch at BWF Superseries Finals in Dubai

Niall McCague 11/12/2016
These five are in Dubai.

Ahead of the BWF Superseries Finals at Hamdan Sports Complex this week, we take a look at the five players to watch out for.

Which player are you looking forward to seeing the most?

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LEE CHONG WEI (Malaysia)

World No1 Lee Chong Wei is one of the greatest badminton players of all time and continues to capture the imagination of the millions of fans who follow the sport worldwide.

With 65 career titles to his name, the 33-year-old looks virtually unbeatable at times and will be one of the stand-out stars at Hamdan this week.

TAI TZU YING (China Taipei)

The best player on the women’s circuit, Tai Tzu Ying, will arrive in Dubai off the back of a superb win at the Hong Kong Open.

The 2014 Superseries winner plays with a consistency and all-round class which is frightening and will be hoping to continue her solid form on UAE soil.

JAN JORGENSEN (Denmark)

Jan Jorgensen is one of the most talented players on the circuit and currently holds the world number three spot.

Fresh from victory at the China Open, the 28-year-old Dane will battle it out with Chong Wei whom he has only beaten once in 17 attempts.

CAROLINA MARIN (Spain)

One of the sport’s key figures, Carolina Marin is the world number two and reigning Olympic champion.

The 22-year-old Spaniard reached the semi-finals at the Hong Kong Open and Denmark Open, and will be one of the marquee names competing in Dubai.

PV SINDHU (India)

Sindhu was a silver medalist at Rio 2016, becoming only the second Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal alongside Saina Nehwal.

The 21-year-old sensation qualified for the Superseries Finals courtesy of her success at the China Open and a runners-up spot in Hong Kong, where she was beaten by an in-form Ying.

PV Sindhu. PV Sindhu.

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Axelsen chills out with Sanga the seal ahead of Dubai finale

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Badminton men’s singles Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen took time out from his preparations for this week’s Dubai World Superseries Finals to get up close to Sanga the seal at the Sea Lion Point, Dolphin Bay, Atlantis The Palm Dubai.

Dane Axelsen, who was runner-up in the 2015 Dubai World Superseries Finals, said: “I’m really excited to be back in Dubai. Winning the bronze medal in Rio has given me a lot of confidence and I’m feeling very positive.

“I’ve never met a sea lion before either!”

Play in the season-ending badminton spectacular which has a US$1 million prize pool, and features the top eight players in men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles, commences on Wednesday 14 December at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

Tickets are only 25dhs per day, with children under 18 free. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster. For information about the event go to http://www.dubaisuperseriesfinals.ae

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China in safe hands going into World Superseries Finals

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The 19-year-old He Bingjiao has rocketed up the rankings in the second half of the season

A spate of retirements of the once-dominant Chinese badminton players following the Rio Olympics was expected to herald a quieter period for the badminton powerhouse, but young players have stepped up to the plate and will keep China’s hopes alive at the upcoming Dubai World Superseries Finals [December 14-18].

China’s women’s singles superstars and former world No.1s Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan were among the first to retire, followed by women’s doubles players and 2012 Olympic gold medallists Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing.

Zhao is widely regarded as one of the finest doubles players of her generation having won a total of five World Championships, mixed doubles gold at the 2012 Olympic Games and bronze in Rio 2016 alongside Zhang Nan.

Former world No1s Yu Yang and Ma Jin also announced the end of their careers. With 2012 Olympic singles gold medallist Li Xuerui still battling injury, China suffered a significant dent in their post-Olympics playing roster.

But the final six BWF World Superseries events have shown that China’s youngsters are more than up to the task and the new generation of teens will be a serious threat in Dubai.

After being as low as 25 in the Destination Dubai women’s singles rankings early in the year, talented 19-year-old He Bingjiao powered home in the second half of the season, enjoying Superseries glory twice, at the Yonex Open Japan and the French Open.

He’s superb play saw her force her way into a qualifying spot for the blockbuster finale in the Emirates. But the Dubai debutante will have her work cut out for her, coming up against a stellar field in the season-closing showpiece.

The first-ever women’s singles badminton Olympic gold medallist from Europe, and the current world champion, Carolina Marin, will be in action along with Japan’s own teenage sensation Akane Yamaguchi, who collected two Superseries titles this year, and India’s rising star PV Sindhu who won India’s first badminton Olympic silver medal in Rio, as well as her first Superseries title in the Thaihot China Open in November.

Bingjiao’s explosion onto the singles world stage has been accompanied by the emergence of some dynamic doubles pairings. The 19-year-old Chen Qingchen is looking to take over the mantle from the legendary Zhao Yunlei.

A multiple world junior champion, Chen came of age at the senior level this year, anchoring China to the Uber Cup triumph at home and then winning her first Superseries in women’s doubles in Australia in June with Bao Yixin.

Chen is one of only two players to qualify for both women’s doubles and mixed doubles in her first trip to the Dubai World Superseries Finals, the other being the experienced 30-year-old Christinna Pedersen of Denmark, who won silver in Rio with Kamilla Rytter Juhl, and has won the World Superseries Finals Mixed Doubles title twice before.

The Dubai World Superseries Finals runs from December 14-18 at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae. Prices start from Dh25, with those under 18 years entering for free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

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