Qualifying Heats Up With Two Events Left

Two qualifying events remain for the contenders to the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023 to seal their places – this week’s Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023 and next week’s LI-NING China Masters 2023.

While several players will feel secure at having done enough during the season to assure themselves of a ticket to Hangzhou, there are a few borderline cases who will need a strong showing at the last two events.

World No.1 Viktor Axelsen, for instance, is No.7 in the HSBC Race to Finals rankings. With only seven places up for grabs (No.9 Kunlavut Vitidsarn gets automatic qualification as the reigning world champion), Axelsen will eye strong finishes at both events to help him seal his spot at an event where he has won the last two titles.

Standings in men’s singles

Likewise, Ng Tze Yong, currently in eighth place on 73180 points, has a shot, while Kenta Nishimoto (No.10) and Lee Zii Jia (No.11) will need two exceptional weeks to harbour any hopes.

In women’s singles, with four Chinese in the top eight (only two from a Member Association can qualify), opportunity opens up for players lower down, like Beiwen Zhang and Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. Pornpawee Chochuwong, in 11th place, has lately had injury trouble and is not competing at the Kumamoto Masters; her compatriot Supanida Katethong (No.12) thus has a window of opportunity.

Standings in women’s singles

In men’s doubles, Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin’s runner-up finish at the Korea Masters saw them rise two places to No.10 and within shot of a qualifying place. Close behind are Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi and Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi. Asian champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty however are further behind at No.13, and while they mathematically still have a chance, it will be tough ask.

Perhaps the most impressive likely qualifiers in women’s doubles are World Tour newbies Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning, who are in only their first senior season.

Men’s doubles rankings

While Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai are currently eighth overall, breathing down their necks are compatriots Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard, less than 2000 points behind.

Malaysia’s Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan are further away, their chances bleak as they are over 12,000 points behind the Aimsaards.

Women’s doubles rankings

The race in mixed doubles is tight between borderline pairs like Ye Hong Wei/Lee Chia Hsin, Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet and Hiroki Midorikawa/Natsu Saito, who are within 2400 points of each other.

Mixed doubles rankings

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