Men’s Doubles world champions Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen found themselves in combustible Group A, which could well turn out to be the ‘group of death’ at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2018.
The draw, completed this morning in Guangzhou, saw Li/Liu placed in Group A with top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia), YONEX French Open champions Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong (China) and VICTOR China Open champions Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Denmark).
“It’s an interesting group,” said Rasmussen. “We have the world champions and the world No.1 and the young Chinese pair who are very good, and of course we won the China Open as well, so it’s a tough group, but we are looking forward to it.”
Gideon/Sukamuljo, winners of eight World Tour titles this season, are favoured to defend their title, but the presence of Han/Zhou in their group will test their mettle as the young Chinese pair have beaten them twice this year.
The draw for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2018 in progress this morning
Local dignitaries of Guangzhou were invited to conduct the draw, which consisted of the No.1 and No.2 seeds being placed at the top of Group A and Group B respectively, the No.3 and No.4 seeds picked by lots into one of the two groups, and the remaining players/pairs similarly picked into one of the two groups.
The top two players or pairs from each group will qualify for the semi-finals, after which a knockout draw will be conducted.
Another volatile group is Men’s Singles Group A, which has top seed Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei), YONEX All England champion Shi Yuqi (China), YONEX-SUNRISE Hong Kong Open champion Son Wan Ho, and VICTOR China Open champion Anthony Ginting (Indonesia).
Women’s Singles defending champion Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) is in Group A with Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei), Pusarla V Sindhu (India) and Beiwen Zhang (USA).