A historic Asiad silver added to her path-breaking career collection, ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu would be desperate to break the final jinx that has plagued her for a while when she competes at the Japan Open starting Tuesday. Sindhu has been outstanding this season with silver medals in all the major events this year — the Commonwealth Games, the World Championship and the Asian Games. They are all medals to be cherished but a hectic schedule leaves her with very little time to stay in the moment. Add to it, the questions that have been staring at the Olympic silver-medallist for not being able to go the full distance in marquee summit clashes.
Heading into the Asian circuit events, which include China and Korea, Sindhu would look to put these questions to rest. The third-seeded 23-year-old begins her campaign against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi. She is expected to reach the quarterfinal where she is likely to face the three-time either world champion Carolina Marin or the formidable Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
Saina Nehwal, who won a bronze medal at the Asiad, has pulled out of the USD 700,000 BWF World Tour Super 750. Among the men, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy will look to get over the disappointing campaigns in the World championship and the Asian Games and go deep into the draw.
Srikanth, a former world No.1 whose best finish this season has been a semifinal appearance at the Malaysia Open, will face China’s Huang Yuxiang. Prannoy will take on Jonathan Christie, the Indonesian who earned his country a maiden Asian Games gold i August. Sameer Verma, who clinched the Hyderabad Open Super 100 tournament on Sunday, will look to continue his good run when he faces Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
However, B Sai Praneeth, who won the Singapore Open last year, withdrew from the tournament. The reasons for his pullout are not known. In men’s doubles, Commonwealth Games silver-medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who also won at Hyderabad, will square off against third seeded Japanese Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will meet Malaysia’s Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong. CWG bronze-medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will fight it out with Korean combination of Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun in women’s doubles.
In mixed doubles, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy, who lost the finals at Hyderabad on Sunday, face third-seeded Indonesian pair of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.
Satwik and Ashwini, on the other hand, will hope to put it past second-seeded Chinese pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping.
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