The world No.1 duo have won the World Championships and all three Super 1000 titles; they are now in the running for a calendar ‘Super Grand Slam’ if they add the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals trophy to their collection. However, they will have to reckon with three pairs in Group B, all of whom have beaten them at least once – Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti, Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.
The draw for the five categories was conducted today in the presence of media, top officials of Chinese Badminton Association and host organisers, and sponsors. Among those who helped pick the draw were BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer; David Liao, President & CEO of HSBC China; and Yang Wei, Olympic gold medallist.
Defending mixed doubles champions Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping were drawn into Group A with top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Seo Seung Jae/Chae YuJung, and Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying.
“We are satisfied with the draw since the two Chinese pairs are in different groups,” said Zheng, who added that the other three teams in Group B were all potentially dangerous challengers.
“We have lost to the three pairs, and they are all playing well – particularly the Japanese pair (Watanabe/Higashino), who have been in form recently. We will treat each match like a final. We’re confident of winning the title, but during the match we won’t think too much about it.”
Group B might well be the ‘group of death’, for it has four evenly-matched contestants in Chou Tien Chen, Chen Long, Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting.
Women’s singles defending champion Pusarla V Sindhu is in Group A with Chen Yu Fei, Akane Yamaguchi and He Bing Jiao, while Group B has Ratchanok Intanon, Nozomi Okuhara, two-time season finale winner Tai Tzu Ying and Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
In men’s doubles, top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo can expect some tough challenges early on against group-mates Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, defending champions Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen, and Asian champions Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe.
World champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan will have to contend with Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin, Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik.
The two Chinese women’s doubles pairs – Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan and Du Yue/Li Yin Hui – find themselves in Group A with Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu.
Click here for the draws: