As Europe starts to experience the winter chill on the approach Christmas the cream of the world’s badminton fraternity head to beautiful Dubai for the year ending World Super Series finals which starts on Wednesday. The world’s greatest will compete for the 1,000,000 dollars on offer with Europe represented well across all five disciplines.
Juhl & Pedersen the form pair in women’s doubles showdown
Since claiming the silver medal at the Rio Olympics Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen (main picture) have been the form pair in the race to Dubai and will be one of the favourites to lift the title next week even with a steller field assembled.
The Danea, recent winner of the Hong Kong Open, will be the only European women’s doubles representatives in Dubai with their late run of form taking them to the second qualification spot with Japanese Olympic Champions Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi topping the qualification table.
The Danes sit amongst two pairs from China, Korea and Japan and with the forced withdrawal of Indonesian duo Nitya Krishinda Maheswari & Greysia Polii, Malaysian pair Vivian Hoo & Khe Wei Woon get their opportunity on the big stage
for women's doubles group A draw
for women's doubles group B draw
Is there a fairytale ending in a most turbulent year for Boe & Mogensen
Mathias Boe & Carsten Mogensen (pictured above) looked most unlikely to make the cut for the finals a mere three months ago. A run of three straight Super Series finals pushed the Danish veterans into the bottom end of qualification edging out compatriots Astrup and Rasmussen in doing so.
It is amazing to thing just 8 months ago Mogensen survived a brain aneurism in Kazan, Russia and a decent performance next week in Dubai would round off a turbulent year for the ageless Danes.
Boe & Mogensen are joined by Conrad & Kolding in the Dubai finals and both pairs will need to produce their absolute best to trouble the world’s elite which include wild cards and Olympic champions Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan of China.
Click HERE for men's doubles group A draw
Click HERE for men's doubles group B draw
Adcock’s return to defend their 2015 title
Top English pair Chris & Gabby Adcock (pictured above) return to the site of their most profitable success after their victory in the Super Series finals in 2015. The English husband and wife duo qualified in 7th position of 8 and that position reflects their chances this week after a consistent year without setting the circuit on fire.
Can history repeat itself as the Adcock were in a similar position last year? The answer is surely yes but unlike last year the English and the other 6 qualifiers must battle the virtually unbeatable Olympic champions and form pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir. The Indonesians won the two most recent Super Series tournaments in China and Hong Kong and on that kind of form are almost bankers for the title.
The Adcock’s are joined by top Danish pair and current European Champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen with Perdesen aiming for the double in both mixed and women’s doubles. Playing two events might work against the Dane but the gold laden prize pot will work wonders on pushing the veteran legs to places they might not normally go and with this being the final tournament of the year it can be ‘all in’ for Pedersen this week.
Click HERE for mixed doubles group A draw
Click HERE for mixed doubles group B draw
Bumper men’s singles qualifiers for Europe
The men’s singles finals in Dubai represent a three-pronged attack for Europe with Danish pair Jorgensen and Axelsen leading the line with German first timer Marc Zwiebler as support. HK Vittinghus qualified inside the top 10 but with the rule only allowing two athletes compete the 2015 runner up will be looking on from his honeymoon resort this week.
Olympic Champion Chen Long is absent and Ng Ka Long might be the one to watch after winning on home turf in Hong Kong two weeks ago. Axelsen skipped the trip to Hong Kong deciding to take a break on Spain as a distraction and maybe suffering from burn out after his Olympic exploits.
Jorgensen (pictured above) on the other hand has surprised himself over the past month. The victory in China was a surprise to him as the rest of the world but Jorgensen followed that win up with a good run to the semifinal in Hong Kong proving the Dane has real form ahead of the trip to Dubai.
Add into the equation he finished top of the qualification list means Jorgensen travels to sunny Dubai in a blossoming mental state coupled with a love for this style of high stakes, big money glitz badminton the Dane would definitely not be a surprise champion.
for group A men's singles draw
for group B men's singles draw
Nothing to prove but a lot to gain for Marin
Olympic champion but newly dethroned world number 1 Carolina Marin heads to Dubai with little or no expectations on her shoulders. The Spaniard (pictured above) has led the lines of women’s singles badminton over the past two years and is without doubt the best player on the planet on her day.
The Dubai Super Series finals may have come to soon for Marin after a few lackluster performances, by her lofty standards, over the past tournaments. Marin is not one to shy away from a challenge however and the full purse of Dubai Dollars coupled with a desire to prove she is the best may take her over the line as Europe’s sole singles representative.
Tai Tzu Ying will be the form favorite and we must watch out for Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu after the Indian squeezed in to take the final spot after her win in China and runners up spot in Hong Kong the final two qualification tournaments of the cycle.
Marin & Sindhu find themselves in the same group so an early repeat of the Olympic final is guaranteed.
Click HERE for group A women's singles draw
Click HERE for group B women's singles draw
Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe