02 November, 2015

Qualification Race For Dubai World Superseries Finals Enters Final Stretch

With just two events to go to qualify for the Dubai World Superseries Finals 2015, there’s no holding back now for the top players as they strive to finish in the top eight at the end of the twelve-event Metlife Superseries, and be in the running to take home a share of the US$1million prize pool when the Dubai World Superseries Finals are played from 9-13 December at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

 And in the rankings released last week following the Denmark Open and French Open, some exciting new contenders have emerged who are focused on securing themselves a ticket to Dubai, rocketing up the rankings in the last fortnight.

 With players such as Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen jumping three places to fifth in the men’s singles on the back of his finals appearance in the French Open, China’s Li Xuerui climbing six places to fifth in the women’s singles after her win in Denmark, and Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na jumping five places to take top spot in the mixed doubles after wins in Denmark and France, the pressure is on all players to put in their best performances in the last two events, the China Open and the Hong Kong Open, to ensure a top eight finish.

 In the men’s singles top ranked Chen Long has continued his brilliant form, winning his fifth Superseries title of the year in Denmark, defeating Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.  Sugiarto’s appearance in the Finals pushed him up three places to ninth, but a first round exit in France sees him now in tenth place, just behind India’s Kidambi Srikanth and Kashyap Parapulli.

 After his win in Denmark Chen said, “I am pleased with how my season is going. I have won five World Superseries titles and I would definitely like to defend my title in Dubai but there are still three more Superseries tournaments before the Finals so I hope I will be able to get over a few injuries I have to go to Dubai and play well.”

 China’s legendary Lin Dan is currently sitting in sixth, and needs to stay ahead of countryman Tian Houwei in seventh. Only two players per country will qualify for the Finals, so with Chen Long a certainty, Lin and Tian will fight it out for the final spot for China, opening the door for the ninth ranked player to qualify.

 The women’s singles also sees three Chinese players in the top eight, after Li Xuerui’s victorious return to form in the Denmark Open when she took her first Superseries title of the year. Li, the Olympic champion, and one of the most dominant players of recent season, missed last year’s Superseries finals through injury and has fought hard to regain her fitness and form. She now sits in fifth place in the rankings, but her countrywomen Wang Shixian (first) and Wang Yihan (third), remain between her and an appearance in Dubai.

 Li said “Coming back from my (foot) injury, the pressure has been huge and I have worked very hard so I am really happy to win today. I want to go to Dubai so I will be fighting my hardest in the remaining events.”

 After a quiet period following her victory in the World Championships, Carolina Marin got back into her winning ways in France with a victory over Wang Shixian. The Spaniard, who has regained the Women’s Singles World No.1 ranking, took her fourth 2015 World Superseries title and now sits in second in the rankings behind Wang Shixian.

 Saina Nehwal has been battling a hip injury since the World Championships in August and was pleased to make the quarter finals in France before falling to Ratchanok Intanon. Nehwal’s excellent performances earlier in the season have given her enough of a buffer to see her still sitting in fourth.

 The Korean juggernaut of Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong appear unstoppable in Men’s Doubles, winning their fourth straight World Superseries title in France, and their fifth for the year. Lee and Yoo have dominated the competition since the World Superseries circuit resumed in September taking titles in Japan, Korea and Denmark, and have an incredible 11,390 point lead over second ranked Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan.

 Seong said “We are playing well and we want to keep winning. We have to focus on the other Superseries first and then we can think about Dubai. We are looking forward to the Superseries Finals and retaining the title in Dubai.”

 China’s twins Luo Ying and Luo Yu are leading the women’s doubles, despite losing the French final. Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl are in second with Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii in third.

 And in the mixed doubles there are four Chinese pairs in the top eight, but defending world Superseries Finals champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei should make it through, despite losing their top ranking to Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na who won in both Denmark and France and have moved up five places in two weeks to take the top spot. Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir are in second.

 The Metlife Superseries continues with the China Open o 10-15 November, with the final event, the Hong Kong Open on 17-22 November.

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