The BWF World Tour Finals begin in Guangzhou tomorrow ©BWF

The season-ending Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals will begin in Guangzhou tomorrow with fierce competition predicted across all draws.

A total prize pot of $1.5 million (£1.2 million/€1.3 million) is up for grabs, with the top eight players in the world across each category going head-to-head at the Tianhe Gymnasium for the final major title of the year.

In the men’s singles, the favourite will be Japan’s world champion Kento Momota, though he will by no means expect an easy ride.

Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting and South Korea’s Son Wan Ho are also set to challenge.

Ginting is the one to have troubled Momota most consistently this year, winning two of their six encounters and forcing Momota into a deciding game in a further three.

Ho has also had success against Momota, beating the Japanese player in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open on his way to clinching the title.

Luckily for Mamota, the Japanese player has avoided both of his adversaries in the group stage, having been drawn into Group B alongside Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, Kentaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand and Sameer Verma of India.

Players competing in the Chinese city will battle it out for the last major title of the year ©BWF
Players competing in the Chinese city will battle it out for the last major title of the year ©BWF

Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei and Shi Yuqi from China join Ho and Ginting in Group A.

Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei arrives in China as the favourite in the women's singles event.

She has won six World Tour titles this year and became the first women’s singles player to surpass $1 million (£800,000/€900,000) in career earnings.

Tai will face stiff competition from Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who is one of the few players to have beaten her this season, and from India’s Pusarla Sindhu, who lost in last year’s final and is desperate to claim the title this time around.

Ying and Sindhu are both in Group A alongside Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi and Beiwen Zhang from the United States, while Intanon is in Group B with another Japanese player Nozomi Okuhara, China’s Chen Yufei and Canada’s Michelle Li.

In the men’s doubles, world champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen have found themselves in a group already being described as the "group of death".

They are alongside the top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia, China’s French Open champions Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong and Denmark’s China Open winners Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in Group A.

Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong are considered the overwhelming favourites in the mixed doubles ©Getty Images
Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong are considered the overwhelming favourites in the mixed doubles ©Getty Images

The other group features two Chinese Taipei pairs in Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi Lin plus Liao Min Chun and Su Ching Heng, as well as Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan and Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe.

In the women’s doubles there is no such group of death, but the draw on the whole has been described as “too close to call”.

So competitive has the women’s doubles season been, the world number one pair and winners of six titles this year, Yuri Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota have not even qualified.

They narrowly lost out on points in the race to the finals, to their compatriots Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, while the other Japanese slot went to the world champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.

They have been drawn into groups A and B respectively.

The home pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong are undoubtedly the favourites in the mixed doubles draw.

The world number one pairing have won eight titles from 13 tournaments this year and are the runaway top qualifiers.

The pair are not unbeatable though, as was shown in the All England final earlier this year when Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino defeated them.

The pair also won the Hong Kong Open last month over China’s other Tour Finals pairing in Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping.

The tournament is due to conclude with the finals on Sunday (December 16).