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China Masters Badminton 2023: Why Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty Didn't Make Year-Ending BWF World Tour Finals Despite Entering Four Summit Meets - Explained

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy won the Asian Games 2023, Indonesia Super 1000 titles and briefly became the World No. 1 men's doubles pair before entering the final of China Masters Super 750. But they have not qualified for the BWF World Tour Finals

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty during men's doubles semifinal at BWF World Championships.
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The ace Indian badminton men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy is having an absolutely smashing 2023. Satwik and Chirag are in the final of China Masters Super 750 in Shenzen - their fourth summit clash appearance on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour this year. (StreamingBadminton News)

The duo earlier brought laurels for the country by winning a historic gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023 in October. The achievement was soon followed by the pair climbling a hitherto unscaled peak - the World Number 1 rank in the men's doubles category. 

Satwik and Chirag are the reigning Asian champions, and have also clinched titles at the Indonesia Super 1000, Korea Super 500 and Swiss Super 300 tournaments this year. They have made seven semi-final appearances, and won six out of the seven last-four clashes - the only loss coming in the Malaysia Open Super 1000 event in January.

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But despite all these impressive achievements through the course of 2023, Satwik and Chirag haven't made the cut for the prestigious year-ending BWF World Tour Finals. The tournament is slated from 13 to 17 December in Hangzhou, the same city where they scripted history. 

The big-ticket event features the international circuit's eight best pairs in the season, and the Indian duo is deemed to not be among the top eight. In fact, they have ended up on the 13th spot for the World Tour Finals with 69,240 points, while the South Korean pair of Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae is placed first with 91,900 points. This, despite the fact that Satwik and Chirag are currently ranked fifth in the world, while the South Koreans are ranked sixth.      

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What Explains This Seeming Anomaly?         
The answer lies in the qualification criteria for the event. To calculate the top eight pairs in the season, the BWF World Tour Finals count their points in the 14 best tournaments they have had over the past year. The overall rankings, however, count just the 10 best tournaments in the same period.

China Masters happens to be Satwik and Chirag's 14th tournament in the 52-week cycle, which means none of their not-so-great performances can be counted out in the calculation. While the Indians have notched up a series of spectatcular results, they have also had a bunch of early exits in between. To add to that, the triumphs in the 2023 Asian Games and 2023 Badminton Asia Championships have not been included, as these were not BWF World Tour events.    

As a result, while Satwik and Chirag could climb the world rankings and even briefly become World Number 1, they slid to the 13th spot in the BWF World Tour Finals order. In contrast, other pairs like Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae that played more tournaments benefitted, as some of their worse performances were omitted in the calculation.

Nevertheless, the Indian pair will be focused on maintaining their consistency, and ending the year on a high when they take on the Chinese duo of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in the all-important final of China Masters 2023. After that, a key home tourney in the form of the Syed Modi India International 2023 beckons in Lucknow from November 28, but given its proximity to their gruelling China Masters campaign, Satwik-Chirag's participation is uncertain. 

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