Srikanth pulls out as Sindhu eyes another title at China Open 2019
This is where it gets busy!
India’s star shuttlers are turning their attention towards the BWF Super 1000 level event, the China Open, which begins from September 17.
The Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre in Jiangsu province will witness an action-packed week with some of the best names in action for the ultimate prize.
As for India, the contingent will be represented by PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, B Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, Parupalli Kashyap, Sameer Verma, Manu Attri, and Sumeeth Reddy, across every category.
For PV Sindhu, especially, expectations will be sky-high given her recent World Championships success.
But on the men's side, things are not so straightforward.
Tricky ties for Saina, Sindhu
World No. 5 Sindhu is scheduled to face China’s Li Xuerui, a gold medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Seeded sixth in the tournament, Sindhu has faced the Chinese six times in her career, with three wins for each shuttler apiece.
However, if recent performances are taken into account, the Indian does have an upper hand given that she emerged victorious in their last face-off, which came at the Indonesia Open this year.
Saina Nehwal, on the other hand, will face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, against whom she carries a superior head-to-head count. But the fact that the Indian lost her previous meeting with the Thai - which came way back in 2017 - in straight games makes this tie worth watching out for.
Kidambi, Prannoy pull out
Things have gone from bad to worse for the World No. 10 Srikanth Kidambi this year. Having bowed out of the World Championships in the round of 16, the 26-year-old has had to pull out of the China Open as well as the Korea Open owing to a knee injury.
The Guntur-born shuttler had suffered a blow to his knee earlier this year but recovered in time to feature in Indonesia, Japan and Thailand before turning in at the World Championships. Having been a part of 24 events throughout 2018 and 2019 thus far, he bowed out at the quarter-final stage or earlier in 21 of them.
As for this year, his best finish came at the India Open where he lost the title to Denmark’s Victor Axelsen.
HS Prannoy, on the other hand, made a comeback at the World Championships last month but has been forced to pull out of the China Open after being diagnosed with dengue.
As per the schedule, the likes of Kidambi and Prannoy were to face off against B Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap, but the non-availability of the former two has given their compatriots a first-round bye.
Dynamic duo returns
After breaking into the Top 10 following their triumph in the BWF Super 500 title at the Thailand Open earlier this year, the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty withdrew from the World Championships owing to injuries. That absences saw their ranking fell dramatically.
Now ranked 15th, the Indian pair is all set to lock horns with Canada's Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura in the opening round at China.
Where to watch China Open 2019?
The tournament is all set to be streamed on the YouTube channel of BadmintonWorld.tv. While in India, the Star TV network will begin their telecast from September 17, which marks the beginning of the Round of 32.
Starting right from 7:30 AM (IST), all the rounds - including quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final - will be broadcast on SS2, SS2 HD and SS3