A repeat of the Olympic women’s singles final will take place in Dubai this week following Monday’s group stage draw. Gruffudd Owen reports live from the event
Women’s singles Olympic champion Carolina Marin will face Rio silver medallist PV Sindhu in the group stage of the 2016 BWF World Superseries Finals following a draw that promises several intriguing match-ups during the forthcoming week of competition in Dubai.
The clash between world no. 2 Marin and India’s Sindhu – a repeat of the Olympic final four months ago – was the undoubted standout tie as the balls were drawn at the Intercontinental Hotel on Monday.
Far from solely being concerned about this rematch, the rivals will also be wary of similarly tough opponents in Japan’s second seed Akane Yamaguchi and third seed Sun Yu of China, who complete what is surely the tournament’s ‘group of death’.
Group A of the women’s singles sees world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying come up against Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea, rising Chinese star He Bingjiao and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, winner of three Superseries events this season.
In the men’s competition, Jan O Jorgensen was given a relatively kind group stage to navigate, with the 28-year-old set to face China’s Tian Houwei, Finals debutant Marc Zwiebler of Germany and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun for a place in the semi-finals.
Despite topping the Destination Dubai rankings and finishing his regular season strongly with a hugely impressive China Open win, the Dane is taking nothing for granted – although his relief at avoiding some of the bigger names in the group stage was clear.
“I wanted to get into a different group to Viktor [Axelsen] and Lee Chong Wei, so I’m quite happy,” Jorgensen said in the aftermath of the draw.
“I’m taking one game at a time. The first step will be to get off to a good start, and then hopefully build a solid foundation for getting out of the group.
“After that, you really don’t know what you could get. We will see; hopefully I’ll get through the group. That’s my only goal so far.”
Three-time Finals champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen will play last year’s beaten finalists Chai Biao and Hong Wei in Group B of the men’s doubles, while the women’s doubles has pitted Luo Ying and Luo Yu – the Chinese twins who won the 2015 Finals – against the Japanese top seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.
Meanwhile, husband and wife pair Chris and Gabrielle Adcock of England – the reigning mixed doubles champions – have been put in Group B alongside no. 2 seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong of China.
2016 BWF World Superseries Finals draw in full
1. Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark)
2. Tian Houwei (China)
3. Marc Zwiebler (Germany)
4. Hu Yun (Hong Kong)
1. Son Wan Ho (Korea)
2. Ng Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong)
3. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
4. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
1. Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
2. Sung Ji Hyun (Korea)
3. Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)
4. He Bingjiao (China)
1. Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)
2. Sun Yu (China)
3. PV Sindhu (India)
4. Carolina Marin (Spain)
1. Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan)
2. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)
3. Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi (Indonesia)
4. Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark)
1. V Shem Goh/Wee Kiong Tan (Malaysia)
2. Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China)
3. Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark)
4. Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (China)
1. Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan)
2. Chang Ye Na/Lee Yo See (Korea)
3. Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao (Japan)
4. Luo Ying/Luo Yu (China)
1. Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark)
2. Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (Korea)
3. Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei (Malaysia)
4. Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (China)
1. Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea)
2. Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark)
3. Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia)
4. Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia)
1. Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong (China)
2. Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen (China)
3. Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara (Japan)
4. Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (England)
The 2016 Dubai World Superseries Finals takes place between 14-18 December at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai. Gruffud Owen will be reporting live from the event - go to www.vision.ae or @visionsportae on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for more updates