Ahn Se-young to face Kim Ga-eun in first round of ‘Season of the King’… China’s Chen Yufei is in a different group

A Korean player against a Korean player in the first round of a tournament is a bit humbling.

Ahn Se-young (21-Samsung Life), the ‘shuttlecock genius’ who was named the BWF (Badminton World Federation) 2023 Female Player of the Year on Nov. 11. The world No. 1 will face off against her teammate and senior Kim Ga-eun (25-Samsung Life) in the first round.

The 2023 BWF World Tour Finals will take place at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China, from July 13-17.

The event is the crowning jewel of the season, featuring the world’s top eight players in each of the five events – men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles – who will compete in a group stage, followed by a tournament-style quarterfinals to determine the champion.

After the draw was made at the 2023 BWF World Tour Gala Dinner at the Hangzhou Dragon Hotel on November 11, Ahn was placed in Group A of the women’s singles alongside world No. 4 Tai Tzu-ying (29) of Chinese Taipei, No. 7 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (24) of Indonesia and No. 13 Kim Ga-eun.

Kim was initially unseeded in the quarterfinals, but earned a spot after third-ranked Akane Yamaguchi of Japan (26) withdrew due to injury.

Group B is led by world No. 2 Chen Yufei (25) of China, followed by No. 5 Carolina Marin (30) of Spain, No. 8 Han Yue (24) of China and No. 9 Beiwen Zhang (33) of the United States.

The tournament is a round robin format, with the first and second place finishers in each group advancing to the quarterfinals, followed by a draw to determine the quarterfinal opponents and a final.

Ahn will take on Kim Ga-eun in the first round at 11 a.m. KST on Nov. 13. This is the first match of the tournament.

Ahn has faced Kim twice on the World Tour this year, winning twice. She leads the head-to-head series 4-3.

Ahn won her first title as a 19-year-old in 2021, defeating India’s Pusala Sindhu in the women’s singles final at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bali, Indonesia.

On paper, she should have no problem reaching the quarterfinals as one of the top two players in her group.

The problem is that she is not yet at her best as she is still rehabilitating a right knee injury that she aggravated in the women’s singles final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games against Chen Yufei on October 7.

Kim Hak-gyun, head coach of the Korea Badminton Team, said, “Ahn Se-young’s condition and fitness are not at 100%, but it is better than when she won the China Open last November. She was also named the Player of the Year, which makes her feel good.” 헤라카지노

Tianyupei, who are in Group B, will face Hanwei in the seventh match of the day.

Ahn Se-young will be making her second attempt at the top spot, having already won her first seasonal crown in 2021 when she was 19 years old.

If Ahn and Chen Yufei make it through the group stage side-by-side, they could meet again in Hangzhou for a rematch in the quarterfinals or final after the women’s singles final at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Speaking to the BWF earlier, Chen Yufei said, “It feels very good to play in my hometown (Hangzhou). I will enjoy the tournament itself and the atmosphere. Compared to the last few World Tour Finals, I feel more mature. I will do my best to win the title.”

It will be interesting to see if Ahn Se-young and Chen Yuefei can build on their Asian Games gold medal and repeat as the season’s reigning champions.

Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles, world No. 2 Lee So-hee (29, Incheon International Airport) and Baek Ha-na (23, MG Saemaul Bank) will face No. 3 Kim So-young (31, Incheon International Airport) and Gong Hee-yong (26, Bank of Korea) in Group B in the first round of the day.

World No. 1 Chen Qingcheng and Ji Aifan of China are in Group A.

In the Mixed Doubles, the world’s third-ranked pair, Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung (28-Incheon International Airport), who won this year’s World Championships, will play the first round in Group B alongside seventh-ranked Kim Won-ho (24-Samsung Life) and Jung Na-eun (23-Hwasun County Office).

World No. 1 Zheng Tsuwei-Huang Yachong of China are also in Group B.

In the men’s doubles, this year’s World Championship champions Seo Seung-jae (26-Samsung Life) and Kim Won-ho (24-Samsung Life) will play their first round match in Group B today. Their opponents are Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Skarup Rasmussen.

The tournament has a total prize pool of $2.5 million, the largest in badminton history.

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