Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, winner of the first two men’s singles events of the Asian Leg in Bangkok, Thailand, has his task cut out if he hopes to achieve his third title in three weeks at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.
The top seed is in a difficult Group A with Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei), Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia).
The draw for the group stage was conducted in Bangkok by Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) officials while observing COVID-19 protocols.
The group stage will be followed by a knockout format, with the top two players or pairs from each group making it to the semifinals. The tournament starts tomorrow at 11am Bangkok time and the finals will be held on Sunday 31 January 2021.
Group B in men’s singles has Axelsen’s compatriot Anders Antonsen, Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei), Kidambi Srikanth (India) and Ng Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong China).
Another ‘group of death’ is Group A in mixed doubles, which features England’s Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith, Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti, and Korea’s Seo Seung Jae/Chae YuJung.
Apart from Axelsen, Carolina Marin, Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai, and men’s doubles top seeds Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin will be looking for a clean sweep of titles at the three-tournament Asian Leg.
Three-time world champion Marin is in women’s singles Group A with An Se Young, the Korean she beat twice over the last fortnight; Canada’s Michelle Li and Evgeniya Kosetskaya, who is the first Russian singles player at the season finale.
World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) is in Group B with home favourites Ratchanok Intanon and Pornpawee Chochuwong, and world champion Pusarla V. Sindhu (India).
Men’s doubles top seeds Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin will take on Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi, Ben Lane/Sean Vendy and Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge (both England) in their group assignments.
In women’s doubles, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, winners of the YONEX Thailand Open, are in Group A with TOYOTA Thailand Open runners-up Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan (Korea), and Malaysia’s Chow Mei Kuan/Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo/Yap Cheng Wen.
TOYOTA Thailand Open winners Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong (Korea) are in Group B with England’s Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith, Germany’s Linda Efler/Isabel Herttrich and Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai.