Home2021Can Asia Secure the Men's Singles?

Can Asia Secure the Men’s Singles?

Even though the Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open are over, not all players have left Bali. Those who performed well in 2021 are still there. However, it’s not for vacation. The BWF World Tour Finals 2021 that will be held on 1-5 December is waiting for them.

In each category — the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles — there will be 8 representatives. The point of reference for the selection of the 8 players is their achievements within this year. 

BWF’s special spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist also give some room for players who didn’t make it to the Top 8 of the “Road to Bali” rankings to compete at the BWF World Tour Finals 2021. Lucky for Olympic gold medalist Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin from Chinese Taipei in the men’s doubles and Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu from Indonesia in the women’s doubles. Both pairs didn’t collect enough points from 2021 tournaments that Yang/Chi-lin is currently ranked #25 and Polii/Rahayu is at #13.

The BWF World Tour Finals 2021 will be a tough one because only the champions and those with the most points will compete. All categories will be just as hot. However, the last event, the Indonesia Open 2021 that just ended, could be a point of reference.

Asia will still dominate. It’s only in the men’s singles that Asia needs to fight harder. Viktor Axelsen’s return to the top can make Asia fail to sweep top titles in all categories. In the final round of the Indonesia Open, Axelsen defeated Loh Kean Yew from Singapore in a rubber game 21-13, 9-21, 21-13. This is a warning sign for Asian representatives because since early this year, no Asian representative had managed to secure the top position in the men’s singles in 3 Leg Tournaments in Thailand and later in the year, in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Moreover, the Asian representative we can rely on to secure the title in the men’s singles, Kento Momota, isn’t yet stable. 

In the other categories, though, Asia’s dominance is rock solid. It’s even not impossible that the final round will have all Asian players.

Even though she failed at the Indonesia Open 2021, Akane Yamaguchi from Japan still needs to have our attention for the women’s singles. The result from the last tournament surely taught her a lot and Akane wouldn’t want to have a consecutive loss. The second strongest candidate in the women’s singles is, of course, An Seyoung from Korea. In two tournaments that were held in Bali, An Seyoung came out as the champion. Winning the BWF World Tour Finals will be her hat-trick.

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya deserve to be put forward. Being the finalist in the Indonesia Masters 2021 and the champion of the Indonesia Open 2021 identifies that the pair that’s also known as “the Minions” has returned to their top performance and shouldn’t be taken lightly. They can be out from the elimination round, though, if they’re not giving their best performance. All of their opponents are already familiar with their playing style. In this category, there’s Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin who defeated the Minions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There’s also Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi from Japan that beat them at the final of the Indonesia Masters 2021.

In the women’s singles, Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida from Japan is fighting to score a hat-trick. Previously, they have won titles at the Indonesia Masters 2021 and Indonesia Open 2021. Challenges may come from Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu that the Japanese defeated after a tough final in the Indonesia Open 2021.

In the mixed doubles, Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai are still unstoppable. They have won 6 titles throughout 2021. The last time they won was at the Indonesia Open 2021 where they defeated Japanese pair Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino in a straight game 21-12, 21-13. It was the Thai pair’s first victory over Watanabe/Higashino after previously losing 4 times. Previously, they also won the Indonesia Masters 2021. Earlier this year, Puavaranukroh/Taerattanchai won 3 tournaments that were held at their home country: the Yonex Thailand Open, Toyota Thailand Open, and BWF World Tour Finals. They also won the Hylo Open. Unfortunately, in Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they were already out of the game in the quarterfinal after losing against Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.

 

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