Thursday, April 20, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Lin Dan took a huge step today towards qualifying for the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 by reaching the quarter-finals of the ongoing China Masters 2017.
At No.10 in the current Race to Glasgow rankings, the five-time World champion from China was behind three compatriots – Shi Yuqi (No.5), Chen Long (No.7) and Tian Houwei (No.8), but his entry into the Men’s Singles quarter-finals today has given him enough points to vault past at least one of them when the rankings are updated next Thursday. The ranking lists of that day (27 April 2017) will be used to determine the qualifiers for the World Championships.
A member association can field four players in a category if all four are ranked within the top 8; or three if they are ranked within the top 24. Lin (featured image) currently has 55,558 points, which is 3,232 points behind Tian Houwei, 3,496 points behind Chen Long and 8,825 points behind Shi Yuqi. However, Tian is also playing the China Masters, but Shi Yuqi and Chen Long are not.
Lin and Tian are both in the quarter-finals so they are assured of 3,850 points at least, which will help Lin overtake Chen but leave Tian short by 14 points (the points tally is based on the ten-best performances since the start of the qualifying period). If Tian wins his next match to enter the semi-finals, he will also overtake Chen. If that materialises, the two-time World champion might miss out on qualifying. However, it must be noted that the confirmation of the entries – assuming they have fulfilled other criteria – is the prerogative of the respective member association, in this case the Chinese Badminton Association. The best-case scenario for China would be that all four Chinese qualify by virtue of being in the top eight of the Race to Glasgow rankings.
In Women’s Singles, Aya Ohori may be fancying a leap past some of her compatriots and qualify as the third Japanese player behind Akane Yamaguchi (No.5) and Nozomi Okuhara (No.9). Four Japanese – Sayaka Sato, Ayumi Mine, Minatsu Mitani and Aya Ohori – are bunched close together (No.16 to No.19), but only Mine and Ohori entered the China Masters. Mine has fallen in the first round, Ohori will hope to make up the 3,464-points deficit to Sato.
There is a keen contest between Huang Kaixiang/Wang Yilyu and Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng for China’s third qualifying place in Men’s Doubles. The two pairs – both are playing the China Masters – are separated by just 880 points and a ‘photo finish’ seems likely.
Rizki Amelia Pradipta/Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah will attempt to qualify as Indonesia’s third pair, for which they need to overtake their 20th-ranked compatriots Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, who are ahead by 1,880 points.
In Mixed Doubles, Hafiz Faizal and Shella Devi Aulia, ranked 27th, will need a strong showing to negate the 5,310 points deficit they have with the third-ranked Indonesian pair Ronald Alexander/Melati Daeva Oktavianti.
The invitations to all the qualifiers based on the World Rankings of 27 April 2017 will be sent in two phases; the deadline for confirmation of entries in Phase-II is 22 May 2017. Seeding will be based on the World Ranking of Thursday 3 August, and the draw will be held on Wednesday 9 August.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships will be held in Emirates Arena, Scotland, from 21 to 27 August 2017. Tickets are available at: http://www.glasgow2017.com/tickets.aspx.