Jakarta: Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will resume her quest for glory in the new season, while Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth aim to continue their impressive run when they start their campaign at the Indonesia Masters, starting with qualifiers here Tuesday.
Seeded second Sindhu has been a cut above other Indians as she claimed silver medals at all the major events — Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championship, before ending the year with the prestigious World Tour Final title, the first Indian to achieve the feat.
After the engagements of Premier Badminton League (PBL), Sindhu decided to skip last week’s Malaysia Masters and she will begin her campaign against former Olympic gold medallist China’s Li Xuerui on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old from Hyderabad is expected to clash with reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin at the quarterfinals. Saina, on the other hand, had an impressive start to the season, losing semifinal spot at Malaysia Masters, which was the first World Tour Super 500 tournament of the season.
The London Olympic bronze medallist will take on a qualifier in the opening round and faces the prospect of meeting Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, seeded fourth, at the quarters. Srikanth, who also entered the quarterfinals at Kuala Lumpur last week, plays his first match against Malaysia’s Liew Daren. The eighth seeded Indian will be joined by others such as Sameer Verma, B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy.
Sameer had enjoyed a good run last season, winning titles at Swiss Open, Hyderabad Open and Syed Modi International. He also qualified for the World Tour Finals at the last moment and secured at a creditable semifinal finish. Praneeth also had a forgottable 2018 but dished out some good performances at the PBL and would look to translate the confidence in the international circuit.
Prannoy, who had to deal with corns in both feet early in the season, was troubled by fitness issues including a gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) last season. With the 2020 Olympic qualification period starting from April, the Indian trio of Sameer, Praneeth and Prannoy will look to put the best foot forward.
Sameer will begin the season with a clash with the legendary Lin Dan, Praneeth faces Olympic champion Chen Long, while Prannoy meets Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in the first round. In men’s doubles, it will be a clash between two Indian combination with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty taking on Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.
Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will square off against Thailand’s eighth seed Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, while mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Ashwini will pair up to clash with seventh seeded English husband-wife combination of Chris Adcock and Gabriella Adcock.
Another mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will face fourth seed Indonesian combo of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.