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Dubai Super Series Finals Preview: Two in-form shuttlers -- Srikanth & Sindhu, raring to go for the title

KIDAMBI SRIKANTH AND PV SINDHU gear up for the final showdown of their calendar year. Dubai Super Series Finals, the year end World Tour Final where the top 8 shuttlers compete for the coveted title.

It begins on 13th of December and the two Indian shuttlers have left for the big tournament.

Kidambi Srikanth

After a gap of one year, Srikanth finds a spot again in Dubai SSF following a great year he has had. In 2015, he along with Saina Nehwal had represented India. Saina missed out on a semi-final berth losing to Tai Tzu Ying in the final group match while Srikanth had lost all his respective matches.

This time things are different for the Guntur born shuttler, though it didn't start on a good note but as the year progressed he climbed up the ranking ladder with his performances.

He played in the Premier Badminton League in January this year and then made a comeback to the international circuit at the India GPG. He crashed out of the tournament in the semis losing to compatriot Sai Praneeth. And after this he took a break, making a comeback in March at the German GPG but lost to Chen Long in the pre-quarters.

Post this he took a brave decision of skipping a Super Series Premier tournament in Malaysia and made a comeback at the Singapore SS. Settling for a runners-up title in Singapore made him more determined to do better at the following tournaments. He then clinched SS titles in Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and France. All of this helped him reach best ranking of World No. 2. And all these above mentioned performances has now helped him get another go at Dubai SSF.

He does stand a chance to win at this tournament as he is considered to be at par with other shuttlers. He is in Group B with Shi Yuqi, Chou Tien Chen and Viktor Axelsen. The head-to-head and current performances favour the Indian to move ahead from the group stages.

He leads 3-0 against Shi Yuqi (all the victories coming this year), 3-3 with Viktor (latest coming in October that favoured Srikanth) and 1-1 against Chou (last played in 2015 Dubai SSF, win favoured Chou).

Srikanth should be able to move into the knock-out stages without much trouble. The usual candidates that can pose a threat are Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long who may or may not cause trouble for the Indian.

PV Sindhu

This Dubai SSF, Carolina Marin and Nozomi Okuhara won't be playing as they have withdrawn due to injury concerns. But that doesn't cut down any competition, She is placed in Group A along with Akane Yamaguchi, He Bingjiao and Sayaka Sato. Against all these shuttlers, the Indian does a hold an edge.

Sindhu was the only Indian shuttler to compete in Dubai last year. She reached the semi-finals beating Marin but Sung Ji Hyun ended her campaign.

Sindhu has had her share of ups and downs this year. Opening the season with great performances in the Premier Badminton League, helping her team Chennai Smashers clinch the title. And then kick-starting her international tour on high by winning India Grand Prix Gold.

She then bettered her Bronze medal to Silver at the World Championships. She also reached her career best ranking of World No. 2. She bagged another title at home, the India SS title.

It was a rough patch following that as some early exits and quarter-finals and semi-finals finishes kept her ranking move up and down the ladder.

But towards the end of the season, she got back with Silver at Hong Kong SS and clinching the Korea SS respectively.

All of this has helped her gain a consecutive spot in Dubai. As far as her group stage is concerned, it shouldn't much of a problem. A 4-2 head-to-head advantage vs Akane, 4-5 vs Bingjiao (last one favouring the Indian) and a 2-1 vs Sayaka (both wins coming this year).

"It has been a good year for me and I’m very happy with my performance,” she said. “I have no regrets because I did pretty well this season. Now I really hope the year ends on a good note. I hope I do well in Dubai," as told to PTI.

The big guns like Tai Tzu Ying and Chen Yufie and Sung Ji Hyun could be a threat in the knockout stages but the Indian should see herself through from the group stages.

As a whole, both the shuttlers do stand a good chance at the title but one will have to wait and see how they and their opponents perform on that given day.

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