World Tour Finals: Sindhu handed tough draw, Sameer will fancy his chances

P. V. Sindhu has been clubbed with Akane Yamaguchi, Tai Tzu Ying and Beiwen Zhang in Group A of the BWF World Tour Finals 2018, while Sameer Verma has a relatively easier draw.

P. V. Sindhu will be making her third successive appearance at the BWF World Tour Finals.   -  Getty Images

Olympic silver medallist shuttler P. V. Sindhu has been handed a tough draw in women’s singles, while debutante Sameer Verma will fancy his chances of progressing to the men’s singles knockout stage at the BWF World Tour Finals starting here Wednesday.

Sindhu, who had finished runner-up at the last edition in Dubai, will have a tough task at hand as she has been clubbed with defending champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, World Number 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and United States’ Beiwen Zhang in Group A.

Sameer, who defended his title at the Syed Modi International last month to qualify for the USD 1,500,000 event at the last moment, has been put alongside Japanese World Number 1 Kento Momota, Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto and Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen.

Sindhu will begin her campaign against Yamaguchi on December 12, while Sameer faces in Momota in his opening clash on the same day.

 

Sameer Verma poses after defeating Guangzu Lu to retain his Syed Modi International Open title.   -  PTI

The top two players from each group will qualify for the semifinals, after which a knockout draw will be conducted. Only eight top players compete in the prestigious season-ending event.

Sindhu, who will be making her third successive appearance at the tournament, boasts a 9-4 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi but has lost four times to the Japanese in their five meetings this season. The 23-year-old also has found the going tough against Asian Games Champion Tai Tzu Ying, who has beaten her in all their last six encounters. The last time Sindhu defeated Tzu Ying was at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Against Zhang, Sindhu has a 3-3 head-to-head record but the Indian has lost twice in the last three meetings, which included a final defeat at the India Open World Tour Super 500 tournament in New Delhi.

Sameer, who is the second Indian men’s player after K. Srikanth to qualify for the tournament, will have a relatively easier path to the semifinals. He has a 1-1 head-to-head record against both Sugiarto and Wangcharoen. Sameer’s main worry will be Momota, whom he had defeated en route to his Swiss Open title, but the Japanese has emerged as a formidable force since.

Saina Nehwal has represented India at the prestigious tournament -- earlier known as Super Series Final -- seven times, reaching the finals at the 2011 edition. Indian mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju also had finished runners-up at the 2009 edition.