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HS Prannoy, India’s solitary participant at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, has been drawn with world No 1 Viktor Axelsen at the ceremony that took place on Monday.
Prannoy (world No 12) was drawn alongside Axelsen, and the two seeded players will be joined by China’s Lu Guang Zu (world No 14) and Japan’s Kodai Naraoka (world No 17) to complete the quartet.
Prannoy is making his debut in the prestigious season-ending tournament on the BWF World Tour and will fancy his chances of finishing top two in the group.
Group B will feature Chou Tien Chen, Loh Kean Yew, Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie.
Prannoy has a 1-5 Head-to-Head against Axelsen, who is the outright favourite in Bangkok, but won the last meeting between the two last November. His H2H against Lu is 0-1, with the Chinese shuttler winning a gruelling three-game battle at the French Open recently. Prannoy’s record against Kodai Naraoka is also 0-1, with the rising Japanese youngster winning their meeting at Singapore Open earlier this year.
I am really excited to start my BWF World Tour Finals campaign. It’s my first time in the year-ending championships and I hope I can perform really well,” said Prannoy as per Badminton Association of India.
PV Sindhu is the lone Indian shuttler to win the prestigious season-ending championships, when she triumphed in 2018.
Prannoy has had a consistent run this year with some big-match performances along the way, which helped him regain his position in the top-15 of BWF World Rankings almost after four years.
Prannoy helped the Indian team clinch their first Thomas Cup crown in May and also finished runner-up finish at the Swiss Open Super 300 and reached the last four stage of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 and Malaysia Masters Super 500 event. He reached at least the quarterfinals in seven other events.
“He has performed significantly for long time and it’s time for him to win the title,” said Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of BAI. “His ability to defeat top players of the world, at any given day, makes him a strong contender to end up at the top of the podium at this year’s BWF World Tour Finals.”
A total of 24 qualifying events all around the world – including 19 HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments – were played beginning with the India Open 2022 in January this year.
The by-invitation Finals features the top eight players and pairs on the BWF World Tour Rankings for the season, with a maximum of two players or pairs per Member Association eligible. The current world champions gain automatic entry.
PV Sindhu (women’s singles) was one of the three withdrawals since the rankings were released with Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida (women’s doubles), and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (mixed doubles) also out with injury. They have been replaced by Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Indonesia), Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (Indonesia), and Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran (Thailand) respectively – all being the next player or pair in the rankings.
Players will be competing for a total prize pool of US$1.5 million.
The likes of Viktor Axelsen, Chen Yu Fei, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong ensured their qualification early in the season.
In men’s singles top seed Axelsen will look to sign off on another great season while Chou Tien Chen, Prannoy HS, Jonatan Christie, Kodai Naraoka, Lu Guang Zu, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Loh Kean Yew will attempt to upset his quest for the title.