Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will hope to end 2017 on a high when they compete in the season-ending World Superseries Finals, starting at the Hamadan Sports Complex in Dubai on Wednesday.
In the tournament featuring the eight best players and pairs of the World Superseries circuit across five categories, Srikanth, who has four men's singles titles and Sindhu, with two titles, will be favourites in their respective sections.
Srikanth, 24, has been drawn in Group B alongside world champion Axelsen of Denmark, China's Shi Yuqi and Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen.
Group A features top seed Son Wan Ho (Korea), All England and Hong Kong Open champion Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia), Ng Ka Long (Hong Kong) and China Open champion Chen Long (China).
The top two players in each group will progress to the semi-finals.
Srikanth, who clinched titles in Australia, Indonesia, Denmark and France, faces a daunting campaign-opener against defending champion Axelsen.
In the women's singles, Sindhu has been clubbed in Group A with Japan's Akane Yamaguchi, Sayaka Sato and China's He Bingjiao.
Defending champion and the year's most successful singles player, Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying, finds herself in the company of last year's runner-up Sung Ji Hyun (Korea), Denmark Open champion Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) and World Championships bronze medallist Chen Yufei (China) in Group B.
Sindhu won Superseries titles in India and South Korea Open. The 23-year-old will begin her campaign against Bingjiao. The three-time World Championships medallist got a bronze last year and improving the colour of the medal will be on her mind this time.
"There are going to be some long matches," anticipated Sindhu, looking at the draw. "Of course, Nozomi (Okuhara) and Carolina (Marin) weren't able to make it, but the other top players are here. I have to play my game and I need to concentrate on each match.
"Since the semi-final places might be decided by the number of games won and lost if the players have an equal number of wins, it's important to try to win every game."