Those who follow badminton know what a great era of women's singles division we are in. Far from being dominated by one or two players from China, there are more than half-a-dozen world-class shuttlers belonging to various nationalities, all capable of beating any other on their day, currently playing in the circuit.
Almost all of those top players will be present in the 2019 BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou which start on December 11. The one glaring and unfortunate absence is that of three-time World Champion Carolina Marin, who misses out because her serious ACL injury didn't allow her to collect enough points.
But all the other top players are lining up to contest for the title. So, let us look at all eight competitors and see how good a chance they have of going all the way.
Chen Yu Fei
Despite an injury this year which temporarily halted her great run of form, the Chinese shuttler enters the tournament as top qualifier. Her form in the last few events she played suggests she is back to her best and as dangerous as before. Chen is one of the top favourites.
The 2013 World Champion continues to be an inconsistent performer. Her record in big tournaments recently hasn't been all that good. Due to her innate quality and great skills, she can never be regarded as not in the running. If she does perform well and goes deep into the tournament, it will be a pleasant and welcome surprise for badminton fans.
Yamaguchi has endured an up-and-down season this year. She was the top player in the run-up to the World Championship but then endured a horror run with several first-round defeats. Towards the end of the year, she seems to be getting her touch back. Losing finalist in this event last year, she could very well have another great campaign.
Former World Champion Okuhara has been reaching the finals of World Tour events quite regularly without crossing the last hurdle. She was also the runners-up in the World Championship. This means that she will be a contender. The big question, however, would be, can she finally break her jinx of losing in finals.
Tai Tzu Ying
Nobody in this sport is as good to watch as Tai. Her wizardry with the racquet is enchanting. But she has one problem. Her record this year hasn't been as good as before, signified by her fifth position among the qualifiers. Secondly, except for the Asian Championships and Asian Games, she has been failing to win other major events despite being favourite in many of them. This tournament is another opportunity for her to break that mental barrier.
He Bing Jiao
Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride! This was the story of He Bing Jiao's career till the Korea Open earlier this year. She finally won a World Tour or equivalent event after a gap of nearly three years. That win was seen as a breakthrough but it hasn't proven to be that so far. But who knows, this World Tour Finals could be the stage for her to take the next big step in her career.
PV Sindhu wouldn't have made it to this event if she hadn't won the World Championship. Her position in the World Tour points standing is 15th. However, she has this mysterious ability to become a great player in every big tournament. She is also the defending champion here. The 24-year old is definitely, despite her poor form, a favourite simply because of her ability to suddenly raise her game in such events.
The only weak link in this event, there isn't much for this Thai player to show in terms of achievement. It would be a huge upset even if she progresses beyond the first round.