As the year draws towards a close, tournaments of BWF World Tour are also coming thick and fast. After the completion of the Macau Open Super 300 event on Sunday, the Super 750 Fuzhou China Open begins on Tuesday. The draw for the tournament features the biggest names in both men's and women's divisions. However, as has been the case recently, the ladies' category throws up more exciting prospects.
On day 1 itself, in the opening round, top seed Tai Tzu Ying will take on Olympic champion Carolina Marin. This is an absolute mouth-watering prospect and has come about due to Marin being unseeded â a consequence of her long absence due to injury. Ideally, both competitors should have stayed in the tournament for a longer time.
Marin is coming off a good performance in the French Open where she reached the final and lost to AN Se Young of South Korea. She will have her task cut out against Tai but would take heart from the fact that, in their last meeting, the Spaniard had emerged victorious.
The second seed is Japan's Akane Yamaguchi. A very capable player, the doughty Japanese competitor has been a little short of success in recent times. In the second round, she may take on Michelle Li, the winner of Macau Open. The other leading Japanese lady in the running, Nozomi Okuhara is seeded fourth.
Two other players that will be closely watched are AN Se Young and HE Bing Jiao. The former stunned the entire world by, first, defeating World Champion PV Sindhu in Denmark Open and then, going all the way to capture the French Open title at the tender age of 17.
Bing Jiao, on the other hand, spent the entire last year getting close to winning titles but falling short eventually. She finally overcame that jinx and won the Korea Open a few weeks ago. She is a big hope for China in women's singles category and her performance would again be keenly watched.
Bing Jiao's compatriot Chen Yu Fei was her nation's leading player some time ago and won the All England Open earlier this year. But due to a terrible injury, she lost her momentum. This would be another test for her as she seeks to recover her form.
The World Champion PV Sindhu, who has become notorious for doing well in major events but failing to perform well in World Tour tournaments would again be under pressure. Same will be the case with her compatriot Saina Nehwal who has been devoid of success recently.
Other prominent names include Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun and USA's Beiwen Zhang. For the Thai player, every tournament these days is a fight to prove her relevance. The same would be the case with Sung as she tries to come out of the large shadow being cast upon her by a much junior colleague, AN Se Young. Zhang of USA is always the underdog. But she can't be taken lightly by anyone.
Everything is well set up for a mouth-watering contest. The China Open in Beijing earlier saw Carolina Marin making an incredible return from injury and winning the title. Anything could happen in this one.