After registering her biggest career triumph at the World Championship in Basel, Switzerland in August, Indian shuttler PV Sindhu has been enduring a rough patch with continuous first-round exits.
However, the world champion will now look to turnaround her fortunes when she begins her title defence at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou on Wednesday (December 11).
According to the BWF rules, only the top 8 in the rankings qualify for the World Tour Finals, but Sindhu, who ended the year at 15th position, made it to the women’s singles event by the virtue of being the world champion.
The Olympic silver medallist, who had reached the finals of Indonesia Open Super 750 tournament in July, made two first-round exits at Korea Open and Fuzhou China Open and went down in the second round in three events — China Open Super 1000, Denmark Open Super 750 and Hong Kong Open Super 500. Her only quarterfinal finish was at the USD 750,000 French Open.
Sindhu, who has twice reached the summit clash in 2017 and 2018, will have all eyeballs since she has the reputation of producing her best in major events.
The shuttler, who had taken a break after the Hong Kong Open to be in good shape for the World Finals, despite the recent dip in form, will eye to retain her title.
This time, Sindhu has been placed in group A alongside Chinese duo of Chen Yu Fei and He Bing Jiao and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, while Group B consists of the rest four shuttlers — Taiwanese Tai Tzu Ying, Thai duo of Ratchanok Intanon and Busanan Ongbamrungphan and Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
Sindhu will open her campaign against Akane Yamaguchi, who has claimed two titles at Indonesia and Japan before a hip problem saw her make four straight first-round exits. However, the Japanese showed signs of regaining her form with semifinal finishes at the French Open, Hong Kong Open and Korea Masters.
The world no 6 Indian has a healthy 10-6 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi but she lost to the Japanese in the last two meetings.
Against Chen Yu Fei too, Sindhu enjoys a 6-3 record but the Chinese has been in rampaging form this season, having won all six of her finals, including the All England Championships.
Sindhu, however, lost nine times to He Bing Jiao with four of them coming in their last four encounters. The Chinese won the Korea Open, besides finishing runner-ups at India Open and Badminton Asia Championships.
(With inputs from agencies)