Olympic champion Chen Long’s late-season form has helped him clinch a spot at the Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017, the year-end finale for the eight top-ranked players and pairs on the MetLife BWF World Superseries.
The Chinese Men’s Singles star was languishing at No.20 in the Destination Dubai Rankings in early November following a run of below-par results by his standards. Chen finally turned it around on home turf at the Tahoe China Open, clinching the title and vaulting 11 places to No.9.
He followed that up with another strong showing at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open, finishing runner-up to Lee Chong Wei. His Hong Kong Open performance elevated him to No.7, ensuring his qualification as the second-ranked Chinese player below Shi Yuqi, who qualified in third.
Other Men’s Singles players to qualify are Korea’s Son Wan Ho, India’s Kidambi Srikanth, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long and World champion Viktor Axelsen (Denmark), who will be defending his Dubai title.
Women’s Singles World champion Nozomi Okuhara, in ninth place on the Destination Dubai Rankings, will receive a wild card as she is World champion; China’s Chen Yufei, in eighth spot, will thus miss out if Okuhara – who has recently been sidelined by a knee injury – confirms her participation.
Okuhara’s Japanese compatriot Akane Yamaguchi tallied the highest number of points in the Superseries this year and qualifies in top spot, while defending champion Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei), winner of five Superseries this season, qualifies in second place.
Two-time Dubai runner-up Sung Ji Hyun (Korea), Pusarla V Sindhu (India), Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand), Carolina Marin (Spain) and He Bingjiao (China) have also made the cut.
Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have been in irresistible form this season with six Superseries titles, making them the top qualifiers in Men’s Doubles.
The second spot, nearly 18,000 points behind, is occupied by Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, followed by two Chinese pairs – Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, and World champions Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan. Another Danish pair – Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding – have qualified in sixth.
Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda will be joined by younger compatriots Yugo Kobayashi/Takuro Hoki. The latter will make their Dubai debut as will Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang who qualified in seventh.
The big names to miss out in Women’s Doubles are Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. The Japanese duo, winners of the Dubai event in 2014 and runners-up last year, are third in the Destination Dubai Rankings but cannot qualify since each member association can field a maximum of two players or pairs in a category. As Japan’s Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto and Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota are at No.1 and No.2, Matsutomo/Takahashi and No.7 Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao will not be in Dubai.
World champions Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan and Yu Xiaohan/Huang Yaqiong (both China) have made the list, as have Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee and Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan, and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung.
Mixed Doubles defending champions Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen qualify in top spot, followed by Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong in second. This means their Chinese compatriots, third-placed Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, miss out.
World champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia), Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet, Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto, England’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock, Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing and Japan’s Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara are the others who have qualified.
DUBAL WORLD SUPERSERIES FINALS – LIST OF QUALIFIERS
1. Son Wan Ho (Korea)
2. Kidambi Srikanth (India)
3. Shi Yuqi (China)
4. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
5. Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei)
6. Ng Ka Long (Hong Kong)
7. Chen Long (China)
8. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
1. Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)
2. Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
3. Sung Ji Hyun (Korea)
4. Pusarla V Sindhu (India)
5. Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)
6. Carolina Marin (Spain)
7. He Bingjiao (China)
8. Nozomi Okuhara (Japan)
1. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)
2. Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark)
3. Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (China)
4. Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan (China)
5. Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan)
6. Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark)
7. Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang (Chinese Taipei)
8. Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi (Japan)
1. Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto (Japan)
2. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (Japan)
3. Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (China)
4. Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark)
5. Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee (Korea)
6. Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (Korea)
7. Yu Xiaohan/Huang Yaqiong (China)
8. Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung (Chinese Taipei)
1. Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen (China)
2. Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong (China)
3. Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia)
4. Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong)
5. Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia)
6. Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (England)
7. Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (Malaysia)
8. Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara (Japan)
NOTE: BWF is awaiting confirmation of all qualifiers’ participation in the Dubai World Superseries Finals. Any replacements will be announced in due course.