India Open Badminton: Tough draw for Saina Nehwal, smoother path for PV Sindhu

In event beginning March 24, PV Sindhu isn’t expected to play a higher-seeded opponent before semi-final.

By Subhayan Dutta ·

Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal will have to see off a difficult draw to advance further in the BWF India Open, which is scheduled to begin from March 24 in New Delhi. Her compatriot PV Sindhu, however, is looking at easier fixtures in her initial rounds.

The draw gets trickier for the Indian shuttlers in the men’s singles category though, where top Indian shuttlers could be seeing many all-Indian second round clashes.

Saina Nehwal staring at top-seeded clashes

Saina Nehwal, winner of the 2015 India Open title, will start her campaign against world no. 38 Chinese Taipei shuttler Pai Yu Po, who last faced Nehwal at the 2016 BCA Indonesia Open and ended up on the losing side.

However, while the world no. 18 Saina Nehwal is the favourite to win the first round, she is expected to face eighth-seeded Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in the quarter-final and second-seeded Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semi-final.

PV Sindhu comes into the tournament as the third seed and will consequently be seeing lower ranked opponents, starting with Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi.

Her first tough draw is expected to be in the quarter-final when she could meet seventh-seeded Canadian Michelle Li, whose last win against PV Sindhu came at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

PV Sindhu eyes return to competitive badminton with the Uber Cup in October.

Sindhu could, however, be facing Sung Ji Hyun or Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semi-final..

Men’s shuttlers face each other early on

Brothers Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma are both handed a tricky draw early in the competition. While Sameer Verma could face top seed Viktor Axelsen in the second round, Sourabh Verma will need to see off seventh-seeded Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei in the first round itself.

Veteran Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap will face Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab in the first round, where a win could see him facing Sourabh Verma in the second.

Former world no. 1 Kidambi Srikanth and India’s rising badminton star Lakshya Sen will both need to win their qualifiers before they get a chance to face each other in the second round.

HS Prannoy has a first-round clash against compatriot B Sai Praneeth, who is also the only seeded Indian shuttler in the men’s singles draw of the tournament.

While the seventh-seeded men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will play Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the first round, the duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will be taking on Japan’s Ayako Sakuramoto and Yukiko Takahata.