The 2018 BWF World Tour season is about to end. Here is a list of top 5 players or pairs that stood out in 2018:
1. Kento Momota
Currently Ranked no. 1 in the world, Kento Momota was banned by Japan's Badminton Association in 2016 due to his involvement in illegal gambling. That ban happened when he was ranked no. 2 in the world and was expected to win gold at the Rio Olympics.
Momota was hurt by the ban but continued to practice daily. He made his comeback in June 2017.
At the start of the 2018 season, Momota was ranked at no. 48 in the BWF rankings. But he managed to win as many as 9 titles out of the 10 finals he made this year. These titles include his gold medal-winning performance at the World Championships 2018.
He has finished at no. 2 behind Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, in the Race to Guangzhou rankings.
2. Tai Tzu Ying
With her beautiful wizardry on the badminton court, Tai Tzu Ying continued her dominance in women's singles this year too. She won 9 titles out of the 11 finals she made this year.
She broke the record of most consecutive wins on the badminton circuit when she went undefeated for seven consecutive months this season.
She retained her title at the All England Championship and finished no.1 in the race to Guangzhou rankings.
3. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo
The Indonesian duo of Marcus and Kevin dominated the entire season of 2018. With 9 title wins and only 4 losses, Marcus and Kevin broke their own record of most number of title wins in a single year. They had won 8 titles in 2017.
As expected, this pair, currently ranked no.1 in the world, finished no.1 in the race to Guangzhou rankings as well.
4. Zhang Siwei and Huang Yaqiong
China's dominance in badminton is considered to be a gone past as across four out of the five disciplines of badminton, Chinese players have seemed to be struggling of late. But in mixed doubles, China continued its dominance through the world no. 1 pair of Zhang Siwei and Huang Yaqiong. They won 9 titles out of the 11 finals they made this year.
They are ranked at no.1 in the race to Guangzhou rankings.
5. Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota
Japan is the new powerhouse in women's doubles as it has 5 pairs in the top 10 and 3 pairs in the top 5 of the BWF rankings. All the major titles including the World Champions and the All England Championships were won by Japanese pairs. But it was the world no. 1 pair of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota that stood out this season. They made seven finals this year and won five of them.
The pair finished at no. 2 in the race to Guangzhou rankings but won't be able to compete at the season-ending finale, as the world champion Japanese pair of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara will get a direct invitation to play at the finals and also due to the fact that the Rio Olympics champion Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi finished ahead of them in the race to Guangzhou Rankings. Only two players or pairs per member nation are allowed to participate in the tournament.Published 04 Dec 2018, 12:15 IST