Olympic champion Carolina Marin won, world champion PV Sindhu and fellow Indian Kidambi Srikanth were beaten, with top-ranked Tai Tzu Ying and Viktor Axelsen also off to a winning start in Bangkok.
Carolina Marin, Viktor Axelsen, men's doubles pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin, and mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai got off to a perfect start in Bangkok on Wednesday (27th January), the first day of the BWF World Tour Finals in Thailand.
Olympic champion Marin had a relatively straight-forward win over Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya, despite not being at her very best.
Tai Tzu Ying edged out a win over a PV Sindhu in a closely contested match, and Thai youngster Pornpawee Chochuwong upset her idol Ratchanok Intanon in a three-game thriller.
Axelsen meanwhile breezed past Anthony Ginting after a very tight first game to top his respective group ahead of Chou Tien Chen who bested Lee Zii Jia. A Dane and a Chinese Taipei player also top the other group after victories for Wang Tzu Wei and Anders Antonsen, who came from behind to beat Kidambi Srikanth.
The hat-trick of titles in Bangkok is very much alive for men's doubles duo Lee and Wang following their win today. The pair are just behind Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in the group standings. Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, as well as Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, also got off to a winning start,
Women's doubles players Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu emerged victorious from the longest match of the tournament so far while South Korea' Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong won their match which meant all the title holders from the two Thailand Open tournaments enjoyed a winning start
The mixed doubles also threw up some thrillers with home favourites Puavaranukroh and Taerattanachai continuing the good run of form in Bangkok.
Read on below, to find out how it all unfolded on day one.
And be sure to join us for the second day of the tournament on Thursday, where a second victory will guarantee advancement to the semi-finals.
27 - 31 Jan
BWF World Tour Finals - Bangkok
Live updates from Day 1 of the BWF World Tour Finals from Bangkok on Wednesday 27th January 2021. All times local to Thailand (GMT +7).
Indonesia's Anthony Ginting acknowledges that Viktor Axelsen was the better player on court today following his defeat to the Dane on the opening day of the World Tour Finals.
Viktor Axelsen extended his win-steak to 26 matches following his victory over Anthony Ginting on the opening day of the World Tour Finals.
In stark contrast to a very tight first game, the Dane surged to an 9 point lead in the second game and went on to convincingly defeat the Indonesian in straight sets 21-17, 21-8.
The win sees Axelsen top the Group A as he remains on course to clinch a hat-trick of titles in Bangkok.
Score: 21-17, 21-8
Viktor Axelsen has started the second game against Anthony Ginting very strongly and currently enjoys a 9 point advantage to lead 11-2 at the halfway stage.
Malaysian mixed doubles pair of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai came from a game down to win their opening World Tour Final match.
Goh and Lai seem to come alive towards the second half of the third game and managed to draw level 12-12.
A good run of six points saw them flip the table on the Germans as they forged ahead.
However Lamsfuss and Herttrich piled on the pressure as they chased down the Malaysians, closing the gap to 19-18.
However Goh and Lai kept their cool and managed to edge out the win.
Score: 14-21, 21-18, 21-18
With neither player letting up, Viktor Axelsen just about manages to edge ahead and take the first game over Anthony Ginting.
The Dane scored the winner with a great smash down the line.
The third and final game saw the Malaysians once again let the Germans pull out a four point lead.
The pairs then traded points and at the halfway mark, the Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich have a slim three point lead, 11-8.
Only one point separates Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting at the interval in the opening game.
Axelsen leads 11-10.
Malaysian pair Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai have clawed back from a game down to force a decider.
Germans Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich pulled off a surprise first game win over Goh and Lai, 21-14.
Lamsfuss and Herttrich started the second game strongly but Goh and Lai fought back to level the game at 16-16 with neither pair able to break away.
Eventually it was the Asian pair who edged ahead and claimed the win to ensure that the match goes to a third and final game.
Score: 14-21, 21-18
The final match on court one today sees Viktor Axelsen from Denmark take on Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
The Dane won both the Thailand Open tournaments over the past two weeks and will be looking to extend his win streak here in Bangkok
Axelsen is returning to competition after ankle surgery and becoming a dad, and you can hear how fatherhood has had an impact on his life in the video below.
Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai were looking to extend their unbeaten run here in Bangkok.
The Thai mixed doubles pair, who won both the Thailand Open tournaments over the past two weeks, got off to a strong start against Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti.
The two pairs faced-off in the final two weeks ago, which the home pair won in three sets.
Today, Puavaranukroh and Taerattanachai came out fighting and took the first game 21-13, but the Indonesians responded in the second, ensuring the match went to a decider.
But two titles in two weeks for the Thais, seemed to be taking its toll in the third game as they looked the more tired of the two.
Tied at 9-9, the home pair managed to edge ahead to hold a 2 point lead going into the mid-game interval.
The break seemed to have done Puavaranukroh and Taerattanachai some good as they returned to court and extended their lead to 16-9.
Jordan and Oktavianti seemed at a loss to find a response and very quickly it was 20-11 in favour of the Thais who immediately converted it to victory.
Score: 21-13, 16-21, 21-11
South Korea's Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung easliy defeated the mixed doubles top seeds of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith.
The South Koreans, who made the semis in the first Thailand Open and then the finals in the second, were relatively untroubled by the British pair en route to their straight-sets victory.
Score: 21-12, 21-12
Chou Tien Chen believes it was his self-confidence that gave him the edge over Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia
"He played very well today and he has big potential. He's got a strong smash and an all round strong athlete. I always play a great game with Lee. I was confident in my style of play and my skill." - Chou Tien Chen.
Chou will next play Indonesia's Anthony Ginting tomorrow.
"I'm friends with Ginting. I think it will be a great match. He [Ginting] has great skill and speed. I have speed too so I think it will be a great match." - Chou Tien Chen
Ginting will first play Viktor Axelsen later today.
After losing the first game and then coming back to take the second, Pornpawee Chochuwong was eager to pull ahead early in the decider against Ratchanok Intanon.
Chochuwong opened up a 10-6 lead but experienced Intanon managed to keep herself in the game.
The two Thai's were level at 17 apiece, with very little between them.
It was Chochuwong who managed to edged out in front and a mistake by Intanon, hitting the shuttle wide, allowed the younger Thai an opportunity to clinch victory. And she did.
In doing so, Pornpawee Chochuwong racked up her maiden victory over Ratchnok Intanon
Score: 15-21, 21-11, 21-18
Chou Tien Chen responded to the pressure by Lee Zii Jia.
The Chinese Taipei player came out fighting and took the lead in the decider going into the mid-point interval.
Lee didn’t seem to have a response to the increase of pace by his opponent and Chou was slowly but steadily able to widen the gap.
There was a great display of reflexes by Lee to save some crucial points as he trailed 10-16.
But it was Chou who had more firepower in his arsenal including a great cross court smash to go on to take the win.
Score: 21-16, 12-21, 21-11
A far more decisive Pornpawee Chochuwong took control of the second game and ran away with the win against Ratchanok Intanon.
She minimized her errors and pulled out a lead to draw level one game each.
Score: 15-21, 21-11
Lee continued his sharp attach in the second half of the second game to clinch victory and force Chou to play a decider.
It's the Malaysian's first World Tour Final appearance and given that he is in a tough group along with Anthony Ginting and Viktor Axelsen, victory today is crucial to making it out of the group stage.
Score: 16-21, 21-12
It wasn't the World Tour Final start that either PV Sindhu or Kidambi Srikanth were hoping for. Both were beaten in very closely fought matches and you can watch the highlights below
It was a more confident Lee who started the second game better, playing with a lot more confidence.
The Malaysian pulled off some solid smashes, including one that clocked 382 km/h to lead 11-7 at the mid-game interval
Speaking of hard smashes, is it possible for a shuttlecock to go faster than 500 kmph? Watch the clip below to find out.
It’s an all Thai affair on court one with Ratchanok Intanon facing off against her younger compatriot Pornpawee Chochuwong.
Chochuwong had the honour of beating Olympic champion Carolina Marin to the Barcelona Masters title last February, but currently finds herself trailing Intanon after the first game which lasted 19 minutes.
Lee Zii Jia can't seem to find a reply to Chou Tien Chen and the Chinese Taipei player comfortably win the opening game.
Chou Tien Chen is off to a strong start against Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia.
The Chinese Taipei player pulled out a five point advantage in the first game to lead 11-6 at the mid-way point
Be sure to watch why Chou chooses not to have a coach in our latest video below:
Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue from France won the deciding game and their match against Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
The Indonesians managed a run of five straight points against the French after trailing 11-2 at the interval, but despite closing the gap to 19-16, they had no response to Gicquel and Delrue who clinched the two points needed to complete another remarkable comeback story on the first day of the World Tour Finals.
Score: 14-21, 21-14, 21-17
It was a much closer second game between Wang Tzu Wei and Angus Ng Ka Long.
Although Wang led from the start, at times the Chinese Taipei player seemed to be tiring faster than his Hong Kong opponent.
But the fourth seed remained steady and managed to open a gap after the mid-game interval and took victory in straight sets
Score: 21-10, 21-15
Indonesia's mixed doubles pairing of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja got off to a comfortable start winning the first game relatively easily.
However T*hom Gicquel* and Delphine Delrue have fought to clinch the second game and forced a decider.
In a remarkable turnaround the French currently have a substantial 11-2 lead in the third game
Score: 14-21, 21-14
Wang Tzu Wei from Chinese Taipei comfortably wins the first game against Hong Kong's Angus Ng Ka Long
The fourth seed controlled the entire match and wasn't troubled much by the Hong Kong player enroute to taking the game.
Ng will have to dig deep and change his approach if he is to have a chance to taking the second game and forcing a decider.
The deciding game between the Indonesian and South Korean women's doubles pairs was equally tight.
Polii and Rahayu managed to pull a slim lead going into the mid-game interval, but Lee and Shin kept them honest all the way through.
The Indonesians once again found them in a position to wrap up the game and match at 20-15.
Unlike in the second game, this time around Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu did it the first time of asking against an equally tired looking Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan.
The top seeds clinched victory after a grueling 94 mins on court, in what could be the longest match of the three tournaments in Bangkok thus far.
Score: 21-17, 22-24, 21-15
The Spaniard did not look at her best on court today, and was happy to come away with a win
Anders Antonsen fought hard to clinch a 15-21, 21-16, 21-18 win over Kidambi Srikanth
"I was struggling again, it was a great fight. We were equal in our levels today, so it was a tight game, we both fought well. It was a very good match. In the second game I continued to get working and gain my rhythm, then Srikanth made some mistakes and that was very important to me. From this match I will gain confidence and keep working and fighting." - Anders Antonsen
Despite trailing by three points at one stage, Anders Antonsen overcomes former world number one Kidambi Srikanth in a closely fought decider to win the match.
Anderson had three match point opportunities. and while Kidambi was able to save the first, an error by the Indian, hitting the shot long, handed the match to the Dane
It's a brilliant comeback for Antonsen who was a game down but kept his focus to win his opening group stage match of the World Tour Finals.
Next up on Court 1 is mixed doubles match between France's Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue who are up against Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaya
Score: 15-21, 21-16, 21-18
The Korean came out fighting in the second game and the pairs were neck-and-neck for the entire game.
Lee and Shin and Polii and Rahayu were tied at 14-14, but the Indonesians who were three points behind at the mid-game interval were the first to have an opportunity to wrap up the match.
However Lee and Shin saved five match points to first draw level 20-20, and then again it was an epic battle that finally went to the South Koreans 24-22
And there's more to come! We’re all set for the important decider with over an hour already played
Score: 17-21, 24-22
Meanwhile Kidambi Srikanth takes a slim lead at the mid-game interval.
There's not much to choose between both the players.
The reigning world champion, PV Sindhu feels she gave it her all and is happy with the way she played after her 19-21 21-12 21-17 loss to Tai Tzu Ying.
"It was a good match, there were no easy points. In the third game I came back and it was just one point difference at one stage. I broke my racket strings twice (during rallies) and that made a difference. Otherwise, it was a good game." - Pusarla V Sindhu
The roles have been revered in the second game.
This time it is Antonsen's turn to pull out a six-point lead which he managed to just about hang onto after a few unforced errors by Kidambi.
It’s one game each with an exciting decide to come.
Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin has got her campaign to clinch a hat-trick of titles in Bangkok off to a winning start at the World Tour Finals.
But the three-time world champion has her sights on even bigger targets this year, as she shares in the video below
Top seeds in the women's doubles Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu from Indonesia take on the third seeds Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan from South Korea.
The Indonesians beat the South Korean in the semi-finals of the first Thailand Open tournament a fortnight ago. On that occasion the Indonesians came back from a game down to take the win, this time around they've come out fighting and have been rewarded by winning the first game.
Kidambi Srikanth takes the first game, having lead from the start.
Antonsen tried to take control of the match but the Indian held firm and wrapped up the opening game in 22 mins.
This is only the third time the two have played each other and with one victory each, who will lead their head-to-head after this match?
India's former world number one started strongly against the Denmark Open winner Anders Antonsen. Kidambi opened up a gap at the start of the game but Antonsen has pegged it back.
Kidambi Srikanth holds a three point advantage going into the mid-game interval
Russian Evgeniya Kosetskaya chooses to look at the positives from her loss against the Olympic champion Carolina Marin.
In the first game, it was very close. My defence was good and I was also attacking well. But in the second game, I made some mistakes and could not keep up the attack. - Evgeniya Kosetskaya
Spain's Carolina Marin is off to a fine start at the BWF World Tour Finals.
The Olympic champion has looked in blistering form in 2021 so far, winning both the Thailand Opens without dropping a game, and the trend seems to have continued into the World Tour Finals as well.
Facing Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia, though she was pushed to some extent in the opener, Marin was in complete control of the match and took about 40 minutes to register a straight games win.
Score: 21-19, 21-14
27 - 31 Jan
BWF World Tour Finals - Bangkok
There's nothing stopping Tai Tzu Ying this time from winning the match.
PV Sindhu was in it for a long time, but the world No. 1 proved to be a bit too good for her liking today.
Up next, it's the world no. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark up against the former world no. 1 Srikanth Kidambi of India.
Score: 19-21, 21-12, 21-17
The shuttler from Chinese Taipei has used her wide array of shots well to keep PV Sindhu guessing throughout the game.
Sindhu, on her part, has not been at her best with her reading on the game pulling her down. But the difference isn't much. There's still a lot to play for in this tie.
Score: 19-21, 21-12, 11-9
We are going the distance!
Tai Tzu Ying has held her ground and romped her way to drawing party in this match.
No doubt, the world No. 1 has been the better of the two shuttlers, but if history is anything to go by, it's too early to rule out PV Sindhu.
Score: 19-21, 21-12
The world No. 1 is in no mood to let this one go. She's come back roaring to lead 11-4 in the second game.
PV Sindhu will once have to dig deep if she is to get back this quality opponent in Tai Tzu Ying.
Score: 19-21, 11-4
Meanwhile, 'The Daddies' have despatched Russia's Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonove with a comfortable 21-17 win in the third game.
On Court 2, it's the Olympic champion and the overwhelming favourite Carolina Marin of Spain up against Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya next.
Score: 21-18, 15-21, 21-17
Some turnaround this by PV Sindhu.
The world champion has shown a lot of character in this opening game to not just stay in the contest but to nick it at the very end.
The world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying was effortless in the match so far, but PV Sindhu seems to have rediscovered her mojo at the right time.
The match is off to a tight start with the world No. 1 holding a slender advantage.
PV Sindhu has been in two minds on certain occasions, letting Tai Tzu Ying run away with some easy points.
Meanwhile, the shuttler from Chinese Taipei has looked in control of her game, often stretching the towering Indian with her cheeky drop shots and well-worked cross-court smashes.
The Russians are not giving up that easy. Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov are back in it with a 21-15 win in the second game.
It remains to be seen if they can continue the run in the decider.
Score: 21-18, 15-21.
It's PV Sindhu time on court 1.
The silver medallist from 2016 Rio Olympics is up against the world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in their first match of the BWF World Tour Finals.
The reigning world champion from India has struggled for form in the two Thailand Open events, not going beyond the quarter-final stage.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked shuttler in the world, Tai Tzu Ying, made the final on each occasion, bowing out to the Olympic champion Carolina Marin.
The 'Daddies' have been on top of this game. Be it their smashes or the delicate net work, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan have caught the Russian off guard too often than not.
Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov have been heavily reliant on their retrieving game so far. They need to take the attack to the opposition to have a chance of changing the tide here.
It's the world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia up next on court two.
A semi-final appearance at the Toyota Thailand Open is the best the Indonesians have managed since badminton returned in 2021.
They are up against the veteran Russian pair of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov.
What a seesaw battle this has been!
The top seeds were dead and buried 4-12 at one stage, but went on to mount a comeback and lead the game, only to lose the advantage before rallying again to win the match. But this time too, not before squandering two match points.
Badminton doesn't get any better than this.
Score: 21-18, 24-22
The Malaysians have roared back to take an 11-4 in the second game.
Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi have been aggressive, not letting their opponents any room to manoeuvre their moves.
Score: 21-18, 4-11
The top seeds have looked dangerous so far, and not surprisingly take the opening game 21-18.
Lee Yang has been motoring with his reflexes on the net while Wang Chi-Lin's brute force has been too much to handle for the Malaysians.
It's a tight affair between the top seeds from Chinese Taipei and the Malaysians.
The rallies have been short and light-quick with the pairs exchanging points and the lead frequently. This one will be too close to call.
Still, wondering where to catch all the action from the BWF World Tour Finals? Check our the broadcaster's list below and do not miss out on anything from the IMPACT Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
It's pretty straight forward in the third as Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong doused the German fire to wrap up the match
They take a minute less than an hour for their first win at the BWF World Tour Finals.
As for Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich, the Germans can take heart from the second game where they not only matched the Koreans level but snatched the game from their grasp with some determined show.
Up next on court 1 are the top seeds in men's doubles Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of the Chinese Taipei facing last week's quarter-finalists Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia.
Score: 21-11, 19-21, 21-11
They seem to be in a hurry here. The South Koreans are keeping the rallies short, mixing their game well to keep the opponents guessing.
A massive eight-point lead at the break. It's all about closing the match from here on.
Score: 21-11, 19-21, 11-3
What a turnaround this has been!
Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich take the second game to push the match into the decider.
They matched Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong stroke for stroke in the initial half of the game and later poked and probed them by engaging in long rallies.
Be it the 44-shot rally or the one that saw the two pairs engage in 57 shots, the Germans never looked out of the contest.
Score: 21-11, 19-21
Some positive badminton from the Germans in the initial part of the second game.
Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich have taken the fight to their higher-ranked opponents and are still in the contest. The Germans, however, will have to do away with their inconsistency if they are to push the South Koreans here.
Score: 21-11, 11-8
The South Koreans have been on top of their game, punishing the Germans at every possible opportunity.
Kim So Yeong's game from the backcourt is well complemented by Kong Hee Yong's presence on the net, and the Germans are finding it hard to create any clear openings for their points.
Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich, however, have put up a respectable show given the quality that they are up against in this opening match of the BWF World Tour Finals.
A comfortable win in the opening match of the group stages is just the start that the Malaysian duo of Aaron Chai and Soh Wooi Yik was looking for.
Listen in as the two share their thoughts on their win.
The Koreans are on top and expectedly so.
The world No. 6 pair are enjoying their time in the middle with points coming at will. Meanwhile, Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich seem to have decided to put everything they have got into this opening game and see how the Koreans react.
Yonex Thailand Open finalists and local hope Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai too begin their BWF World Tour Finals campaign with a straight-games win over England's Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith.
The Thai duo took just about 33 minutes for their 21-10, 21-11 win over the English pair.
Up next, it's the women's doubles winners from the Toyota Thailand Open Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong of South Korea up against Germany's Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich.
The Malaysians take just under 40 minutes to wrap up their first match of Group B against South Korea's Seo Seung-Jae and Choi Soi Gyu.
Though the Koreans upped their game in the second, it wasn't enough to stop the Malaysian duo.
How decisive will this win prove to be for Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik given that the group include the world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia?
Score: 21-14, 21-19
The Malaysians have pushed the Korean pair with their light-quick reflexes, often cutting the rallies short with some smart interceptions on the net.
There's been a need to inject pace into the Koreans' game, and Seo Seung-Jae and Choi Soi Gyu have done just that in this initial phase of the second game to stay within touching distance. But they will need more of that.
Score: 21-14, 11-9
The Malaysians have barely taken the foot the pedal and deservedly take the opening game.
The Korean pair of Seo Seung-Jae and Choi Soi Gyu has often played into their opponents' hands with poor lifts and their inability to rotate well. It's been far too easy for Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik to pick the spaces and go for the kill.
The Koreans have to be much better in the second to take the fight to the imposing Malaysians.
The Malaysians have started from where they left off last week.
They are quick with their returns and swift with their court coverage. Add to that the ability to disguise the opponents with their shot selection, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik look like the real deal in this opening game.
There will be two matches going on simultaneously at any given point of time on Court 1 and Court 2 of the IMPACT Arena in Bangkok.
Kicking things off at the BWF World Tour Finals will be the Malaysian men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik against Seo Seung-Jae and Choi Soi Gyu of South Korea on Court 1.
On Court 2, Englishwomen Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith face a formidable foe in home favourites Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
Good morning all, and welcome to the Olympic Channel’s live coverage of the BWF World Tour Finals.
The BWF World Tour was halted midway through the 2020 season but a lot of effort was put in to continue and it will draw to a close with the traditional season-ender, the BWF World Tour Finals beginning today.
As usual, eight of the best performers on Tour in each category compete against each other, which makes every clash as exciting as ever.
On Day 1, reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin – who is in blistering form having won both Thailand Opens without dropping a game in either – will play BWF World Tour Finals debutant Evgeniya Kosetskaya.
Current world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying – who reached the final at both Thailand Opens – is set for a mouth-watering clash with fierce rival and reigning world champion PV Sindhu later in the day.
The other Indian in the fray, former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth is up against Anders Antonsen while Viktor Axelsen – who completed the Super 1000 slam (winning the All England and both Thailand Opens) – opens his campaign against Antony Ginting of Indonesia.
We’ll be bringing you live updates every day!