In sizzling form after clinching the China Open and finishing runners-up at Hong Kong, Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will look to sign off the year with another crown when she competes in the season-ending World Superseries Finals starting in Dubai from Wednesday.
In Rio de Janeiro, Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win an Olympics silver medal in August, but qualifying for the Dubai World Super Series final still was a far cry as she was placed at 16th in the Destination Dubai Rankings with just two events -- China Open and Hong Kong Open -- remaining.
The 21-year-old had exited early in Denmark and France but she stunned the world with her rampaging run at the last two qualifying tournaments, becoming the third Indian to win the China Open, her maiden Super Series Premier title last month and then reaching the finals at Hong Kong where she lost to Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying.
The victory at China Open earned her 11000 points and a final finish at Hong Kong meant she had earned her maiden ticket to Dubai, surpassing the likes of compatriot Saina Nehwal, Japan's Sayaka Sato and Minatsu Mitani, and Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.
Sindhu then decided to skip the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold, an event she was the three-time defending champion, to prepare for the prestigious event in Dubai and the lanky shuttler is now battle-ready to face off with the best of the world at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.
"It's an honour to play in Dubai, it's an event that I have always wanted to qualify for. My form is good and hopefully it will continue in Dubai," said the two-time bronze medallist at World Championship, who will open her campaign against second seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
World No. 10 Sindhu has a 2-1 head-to-head record against eighth ranked Yamaguchi, having beaten her at Uber Cup this year and at the 2015 Macau Open. The only time the Indian had lost to the Japanese was during the 2013 Japan Open.
However, it will be far from easy as only the top eight ranked players in the Destination Dubai Rankings qualify for the tournament and Sindhu has been clubbed with some of her fiercest rivals.
The Indian will have to fight her way for the two semi-final spots up for grabs from Group B which consists of World No. 1 and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, World No. 6 Chinese Sun Yu, whom Sindhu had beaten in the China Open finals, besides Yamaguchi.
Sindhu has a 3-5 record against Marin, the last meeting being the Rio Olympics final. While against Sun, the Indian has a 3-3 head-to-head record.
In Group A, the new World No. 1 and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, South Korea's Sung Ji-hyun, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and China's He Bingjiao will compete for the semifinal spot.