The last group matches of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019 will be played tomorrow, and in many cases, will decide the two players or pairs who go through to the semifinals.
In case two or more players/pairs are equal in terms of matches won, their final ranking within the group is determined by General Competition Regulation 16.2.
The first criterion, of course, is the number of matches won. If two players/pairs have won the same number of matches, the player that won the group match between them will be ranked higher. This head-to-head result principle holds when two players/pairs are tied on subsequent criteria, like game difference or points difference.
If three or more players/pairs are tied on number of matches won, the next criteria are game difference and points difference (difference between games/points won and lost), with greater difference ranked higher. If the three players/pairs are still equal, ranking is established by drawing lots.
Taking men’s singles Group B as an example, Viktor Axelsen is currently fourth in the group after losing both his matches. Chou Tien Chen (two wins), Chen Long (one win, one loss) and Anthony Ginting (one win, one loss) are the others in the group.
Axelsen, despite his two losses, has a mathematical chance of making it, for which he will need Chou Tien Chen to beat Chen Long.
Axelsen’s best-case scenario is that Chou beats Chen (either straight games or three games), following which he will have to beat Ginting in straight games.
That will leave Axelsen, Chen and Ginting tied in second place at one win apiece, but Axelsen will have the highest game difference of 0, while Ginting and Chen’s game difference will be negative. Axelsen will thus join Chou as a qualifier from the group.
On the other hand, Chen can cement his spot by winning in straight games, irrespective of the result of the other match. If he loses a game but wins the match, he will need Axelsen to beat Ginting.
Ginting is in a better position due to his straight-games win over Chen. If Chou beats Chen, Ginting only needs to win a game against Axelsen. If Chen wins, Ginting will also have to win his match. In that case, there will be a countback for Chou, Chen and Ginting, who will be level on two wins each.
There are thus several interesting possibilities in several categories, and players will need to get their math right. The loss of a game – or even a few points in some cases – could well mean the end of the road.