Ratchanok Inthanon and the red-hot mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai will shoulder Thai hopes when the $1.5-million Badminton World Federation (BDF) World Tour Finals kicks off on Wednesday at a spectator-free Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.
The trio is among a contingent of six locals that also features Thai No 2 Pornpawee Chochuwong and women’s doubles team Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
Selected among the world’s top eight players and pairings with best results from nine mandatory tournaments for the 2020 season finale.
Thai No 1 Ratchanok has been drawn in group B alongside Pornpawee, world No 1 Tai Tzu-Ying and defending champion PV Sindhu of India.
The world No 5 Thai is targeting a semi-finals place to match her performance in the Guangzhou edition three years ago.
Ratchanok said reaching the semis is always my goal whenever I compete in a World Tour Finals. Every match will be tough as only the best players qualify.
Group A’s top seed is Carolina Marin of Spain, fresh from winning back-to-back Thailand Opens. She goes up against South Korea’s rising star An Se-young, Canada’s Michelle Li and Evgeniya Kosetskaya from Russia.
In the mixed doubles, Dechapol and Sapsiree are heavy favourites after clinching Thailand Open I and II titles.
They go into group A with top seeds Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England. The Thai pair will play Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia in their opening match.