2019 Korea Masters: who are the Indian shuttlers facing?

Sameer Verma and Subhankar Dey will face some formidable foes while Srikanth Kidambi can look forward to a breezy progression early on.

By Sandeep Banerjee ·

The Gwangju Korea Masters will be the penultimate BWF World Tour event before the World Tour Finals bring down the curtain on the 2019 season in Guangzhou.

So what can the Indian contingent competing in Gwangju this week expect?

Srikanth all set

One of the standout opening matchups that Indian fans can look forward to will be Srikanth Kidambi's match against Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent.

Of the 13 times the two have faced each other, Srikanth has come out on top in ten of those occasions, including their last five matches against each other.

Should he make it to the second round, the Indian can expect to go up against Japan's Kanta Tsuneyama or Liew Daren of Malaysia, the latter being a definite concern, having beaten Srikanth on all three occasions they’ve faced each other.

The Indian had a much-needed positive showing at the Hong Kong Open Super 500 last week, having made it to the semifinals, and will be hoping to further turn his season around with a victory that has proved elusive so far.

By his own admission, Srikanth has endured a difficult 2019, but with renewed signs of promise the former world number one has a plan to get back to the top of the badminton world.

Verma aiming for upset

Sameer Verma will have his work cut out for him in his opening round fixture against Shi Yu Qi of China. The No. 7-ranked Yu Qi has beaten the Indian in five of the six matches they've played against each other.

Sameer Verma will be up against Shi Yu Qi of China in the opening round of the Korea Masters.

Verma's sole triumph against the Chinese came at the Denmark Open last year, a performance he will be hoping to replicate in Korea and arrest his bad form, having only made it as far as the quarterfinal stage twice this year.

Dey versus Olympic champion

Subhankar Dey has been handed one of the toughest draws, as he will go up against No. 4-ranked Chen Long in Round 1. The reigning Olympic champion was forced to withdraw from the Hong Kong Open quarterfinals last week due to an injury and will be looking to come back strong.

Long has already gotten the better of the No. 44-ranked Dey in their only prior match against each other, registering a straight-games win at the Swiss Open earlier this year.

Saina Nehwal was scheduled to take part in the event as well but pulled out, leaving no Indian in the women’s singles category. Nehwal is however expected to feature in the Syed Modi International Super 300 the following week.

Where to watch

The semifinals and finals will be televised on the Star Sports network and Hotstar, with coverage commencing at 9:30 AM IST on November 23 and 24.