India’s PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal have been placed in the bottom half of the women’s singles draw at the Swiss Open 2021 badminton tournament, making an all-Indian semi-final between the two Olympic medallists a possibility.
World No. 1 Carolina Marin is in the top half and could meet either of the two Indian aces in the final. The main event draw for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Super 300 tournament in Basel was released on Tuesday.
The Swiss Open 2021, which will be held from March 2 to 7, will also resume the badminton qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics.
Points earned by the badminton players at the tournament will count towards their Race to Tokyo Rankings, which will decide the qualification and seedings for the upcoming Summer Games in July.
PV Sindhu, seeded second in the tournament, will start her campaign against Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit. If she wins, the 25-year-old Sindhu will go up against either USA’s Iris Wang or Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan in the second round.
Either Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour or Thailand’s fifth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan could be Rio 2016 silver medallist PV Sindhu’s probable quarter-final opponent.
The Swiss Open 2021 will bring PV Sindhu back to the nostalgic St. Jakobshalle venue in Basel for the first time since she famously won her world championships title there in 2019.
An unseeded Saina Nehwal, meanwhile, faces Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan in her first match. The London 2012 bronze medallist, may square off against sixth seed Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in round 2 and fourth seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the quarter-finals.
The three doubles categories - men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles- and particularly the men’s singles event, will also see a strong Indian presence. Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth begins his Swiss Open venture against countryman Sameer Verma.
After a disappointing run during the two Thailand Opens and BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok last month, Indian shuttlers will look to hit form at the Swiss Open to make a final charge for Tokyo qualification.
Swiss Open 2021 draw for Indian badminton players
PV Sindhu vs Neslihan Yigit (Turkey)
Saina Nehwal vs Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Thailand)
Kidambi Srikanth vs Sameer Verma (India)
HS Prannoy vs Mark Caljouw (Netherlands)
Sourabh Verma vs Christian Kirchmayr (Switzerland)
Ajay Jayaram vs Sitthikom Thammasin (Thailand)
Parupalli Kashyap vs Pablo Abian (Spain)
B Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman (Israel)
Lakshya Sen vs Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Thailand)
Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy vs Annabella Jaeger/Stine Küspert (Germany)
M.R. Arjun/Dhruv Kapila vs Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov (Russia)
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty vs Christopher Grimley/Matthew Grimley (Scotland)
Pranaav Jerry Chopra/N Sikki Reddy vs Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith (England)
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa vs Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (Indonesia)