The race to the Dubai for the Super Series finals concluded last week after the Hong Kong Open in what was a yearlong battle to gain one of the eight spots in each of the five disciplines across 12 Super Series tournaments. Europe will have representation from at least two pairs/athletes in men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles while World Champion, All England Champion and 5-time Super Series winner Carolina Marin heads up the women’s singles qualifiers after missing out in 2014.
Women Singles – Is Marin a European ‘shoe in’?
Marin has been the best player in the world for the past 18 months and while the Spaniard is Europe’s sole representative in the women’s singles event she is also Europe’s ‘shoe in’ for the title in Dubai in December.
As well as going back to back with world titles Marin lifted the All England, The French Open, Malaysia Open, Australian Open and the season ending Hong Kong Open. No matter what way you look at it this has been not only a career defining year for the world number one but a statement from a European perspective, that we can compete with Asia and come out on top on a consistent basis.
Marin’s competition in Dubai will come from the Chinese pair of Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan. While Li Xuerui qualifies on merit unfortunately only two players from a single member association can compete so Li misses out.
Women’s Singles qualifiers for Dubai Super Series Finals.
1. Carolina Marin (Spain) 77,470 pts
2. Wang Shixian (China) 70,060 pts
3. Wang Yihan (China) 67,870 pts
[4. Li Xuerui* (China) 62,370 pts *will not qualify as not eligible.]
4. Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) 61,120 pts
5. Saina Nehwal (India) 59,650 pts
6. Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) 57,990 pts
7. Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) 57,750 pts
8. Sung Ji Hyun (Korea) 55,480 pts
Men’s Singles – Danes on the double in search of title.
In a strange twist of fate, the winner of the last three Super Series title, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, did not amass enough points to qualify for this year’s Super Series final. That being said the men’s singles is awash with talent and Chen Long leads the field after an outstanding year. The Chinese number 1 has been head and shoulders ahead of the rest in the race to Dubai this year. Europe will rely on Danes Jan O Jorgensen and Viktor Axelsen to bring the fight to Chen Long after the Danes qualified in third and fourth position in the rankings.
It has been an uber constant year for Jorgensen with quarter finals and semifinals galore but the Dane will feel he left something behind him not winning a Super Series event even though he came close at the All England and in Indonesia.
Viktor Axelsen is now up to 5 in the latest world rankings and he will hope to do a ‘Vittinghus’ from 2014 and get to the final after a year of near misses. Three runners up spots is something Axelsen will feel its time put right and no better time than Dubai in the Super Series finals.
Lurking will be Lin Dan who has always expressed a will to play the Super Series finals. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese super star has his radar set on competing or just turning up as Rio looms closer.
Men’s Singles qualifiers for Dubai Super Series Finals.
1. Chen Long (China) 79,040
2. Kento Momota (Japan) 67,090
3. Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark) 60,760
4. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) 60,160
5. Lin Dan (China) 59,340
6. Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei) 58,490
[7. Tian Houwei* (China) 54,390 *will not qualify as not eligible]
7. Hu Yun (Hong Kong) 46,930
8. K Srikanth (India) 44,940
Women’s doubles – Dutch back up for Danish stalwarts.
After a year where both China and Korea experimented with different pairings the established European pairs of Juhl & Pedersen and Piek & Muskens played their way into the top 8 to qualify for Dubai. Indeed, the Danes will be one of the favorites to win while the Dutch will be fancied to cause an upset of two going through the group.
What will work against the Europeans is the fact that world champions Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei of China have been granted a wild card as world champions as is the organizers want, it is technically an invitational event after all!
With two Chinese pairs, two Japanese pairs, Indonesia and Korea represented the task for the European’s is a tall one but a task that is well within both the Danes and the Dutch pairs reach.
Women’s Doubles qualifiers for Dubai Super Series Finals.
1. Luo Ying/Luo Yu (China) 65,860
2. Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) 61,180
3. Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan) 58,970
4. Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii (Indonesia) 58,890
5. Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek (Netherlands) 46,280
6. Chae Yoo Jung/Kim So Yeong (Korea) 45,860
7. Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda (Japan) 44,830
8. Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (China) – 33,950 Granted Wild Cards as World Champions
Men’s Doubles – Two Danish pairs with a mountain to climb.
Europe will once again call on the Danes to step up to the mark in the men’s doubles event. Boe & Mogensen qualified in second spot on the clean list but on paper the Asians look to strong with results being the gauge over the past year.
Korea will have hot favorites in Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong who, like Marin in the women’s singles, have been the dominant pair on the world Super Series circuit this year. To win one Super Series in a year is an achievement but to win four in a row as the Koreans did, well that is just down right remarkable. The Koreans also qualified as the top points winners across all disciplines, a measure of their dominance this year.
Conrad and Kolding scrapped into the finals in the final eight spot and is a just reward for the Danes persistence and general good play during 2015. With just one Super Series win between the Danish pairs this year it will be a tough task for either pair to double that figure in Dubai.
Men’s Doubles qualifiers for Dubai Super Series Finals.
1. Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) 84,410
2. Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) 67,780
3. Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan) 67,040
4. Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China) 63,840
5. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 63,220
6. Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng (China) 61,160
7. Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang (Korea) 56,740
8. Mads Conrad Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark) 53,940
Mixed Doubles – Adcock’s rewarded for a super consistent year.
When you look at the current world ranking list there is hardly a more impressive list of results than that of Chris and Gabriella Adcock (main picture). Yes, they have not won this year but 10 quarter finals, 3 semifinals and a final at the Bitburger Open (not Dubai Super Series ranking event) has labelled the English pair as one of the most consistent on the global tour. Most pairs will have high peaks and some lows the Adcock’s have kept a high level all year which is worth mentioning.
Hard work and commitment to the cause has seen the English qualify for the year end Dubai Super Series finals in sixth spot but they along with Fischer and Pedersen and the other five pairs will have a collective job in stopping World Champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China.
Six super titles was the haul for the untouchable Chinese this year but from a European perspective Fischer and Pedersen are one of the few pairs that did actually beat them this year at the Japan Open. In fact, the Danes have a very healthy head to head record against the reigning Olympic Champions so nothing to fear for the vastly experienced Danes.
In addition, the fact that two pairs will not qualify due the maximum of two pairs per member association rule will serve to assist the European contingent on their assault on the title.
Mixed Doubles qualifiers for Dubai Super Series Finals.
1. Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China) 82,070
2. Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin (China) 73,390
3. Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea) 72,010
[4.Xu Chen/Ma Jin* (China) 66,940 *will not qualify as are not eligible]
4. Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) 64,660
5. Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) 64,140
[6. Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong* (China) 60,510 *will not qualify as are not eligible]
6. Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (England) 60,430
7. Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia) 57,330
8. Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah (Hong Kong) 46,320
The World Superseries finals take place between the 9th to 13th December in Dubai and can be followed live on BWF’s YouTube channel HERE
(geo-blocking restrictions may apply check with your local broadcaster)
Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photos courtesy of Badminton Photo.