The 2017 BWF Superseries has undeniably belonged to Kidambi Srikanth.
Winner of four crowns between June and October, the Indian shuttler’s rise up the rankings has been nothing short of meteoric, from 30th in mid-February to a career-high second in the world and his current standing of fifth.
In December, he will make his third appearance at the World Superseries Finals in Dubai, having reached round three in both 2014 and 2015.
But Srikanth’s biggest chance to shine will come at this year’s tournament, starting his campaign in red hot form having won his last two tournaments – the Denmark and French opens.
Yet he’s not short of competitors and perhaps top of that list is Viktor Axelsen, who in August became the first European player to win the World Championship men’s singles title in 20 years.
Aside from his triumph in Glasgow, the Dane has also won two Superseries titles – in India and Japan – and will be keen to retain his title in Dubai having emerged victorious 12 months ago.
But one man always in contention is Lee Chong Wei, a four-time champion at the World Superseries Finals.
It’s been a fairly quiet year for the Malaysian after he won the YONEX All England in March – his second title of the year only coming in November at the Hong Kong Open after his shock first round exit at the World Championships.
There is little doubt that, at 35, he’s approaching the end of his career on court, but one more title wouldn’t go amiss and nor would it for the other five players headed for Dubai.
Son Wan Ho tops the list despite not winning a Superseries title this year, with seven semi-final finishes to his name from 2017.
Despite that, he’s stayed near or at the top of the men’s singles rankings for the entire year, with his crowning moment surely not too far away.
He’ll be hoping that comes in Dubai in just a matter of weeks, looking to improve on his last four finish from last year’s tournament where he was defeated in straight games by eventual champion Axelsen.
Shi Yuqi and Chen Long will fly the flag for China in the UAE, with the latter chasing his first World Superseries final trophy in three years.
Chen won the title in both 2012 and 2014 but not since then has a Chinese shuttler stood atop the podium in the men’s singles.
After a slow start to the season – languishing at number 20 in the Destination Dubai standings in early November – Chen has turned his fortunes around, victory on home soil at the China Open.
But after a promising start to the year in which he finished as runner-up at both the YONEX All England and Swiss Open, Shi has failed to make another final since, though reached the semi-finals in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong to ensure his qualification.
Chou Tien Chen and Ng Ka Long Angus complete the line-up headed for Dubai, with the champion set to be crowned on December 17 – the perfect early Christmas present.
- Son Wan Ho (Korea)
- Kidambi Srikanth (India)
- Shi Yuqi (China)
- Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
- Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei)
- Ng Ka Long (Hong Kong)
- Chen Long (China)
- Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)