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India Open: Tough draw as Srikanth, Sen, Prannoy bunched in 'quarter of death' with Axelsen, and Momota

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India Open: Tough draw as Srikanth, Sen, Prannoy bunched in 'quarter of death' with Axelsen, and Momota

New Delhi, Dec 30 (Ajit Weekly News) Indioan men’s singles players were handed a tough draw in the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2023 as Srikanth Kidambi, Lakshya Sen and H.S. Prannoy are all bunched together in one quarter while former world champion P.V. Sindhu faces her last edition’s nemesis Supanida Katethong in the opening round.

The India Open, which is part of the BWF World Tour series, has been upgraded to the Super 750 category this year. The upgraded status has meant that almost all the top stars of world badminton would be in action at the K.D Jadhav Indoor hall), IG Stadium, from January 17-22.

India’s hopes for a title encore rest on the trio of Srikanth, Prannoy and Sen but the luck of the draw means only one of them can cross the last-eight hurdle from a quarter that also includes reigning World and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen, China’s Shi Yu Qi and Japan’s Kento Momota.

Defending champion Sen will begin his campaign against compatriot Prannoy and the winner of their match is likely to run into Momota, who is looking to hit the ground running in 2023 after struggling for form this year.

Former champion Srikanth has to overcome the challenge of top seed Axelsen in the opening round with a potential clash against Shi Yu Qi, who has made a strong comeback after being out of action for almost 10 months.

None of the other three quarters boasts of such a strong star cast but there would be a few mouth-watering opening round clashes to look forward to. Third seed and former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore will take on the fast-rising Japanese Kodai Naraoka while sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia will face China’s Lu Guang Zu in the first round, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said in the release on Friday.

In women’s singles, former world champions Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and Carolina Marin of Spain will face off in the opening round clash as both of them were troubled by injuries in 2022 and have been unseeded at the India Open 2023.

Top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan will kick off her campaign against Spain’s Clara Azurmendi while Olympic champion and third seed Chen Yu Fei of China faces Canada’s Michelle Li in the opening round.

Among the Indians, fifth seed Sindhu faces Kathethong in a repeat of last edition’s semifinal clash which the Indian lost in three games. The former world champion, who has been out of action due to a heel injury since the Commonwealth Games in August 2022, has a potential quarterfinal clash against Chen Yufei.

Bansod, Kashyap get a chance to make a mark.

Three other Indians would be in the fray in women’s singles with Saina Nehwal kicking off her campaign against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt.

Upcoming stars, Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap have managed to avoid a top-10 opponent in the opening round of what will be their first appearance at the Super 750 level.

World No. 30 Bansod will take on Thailand’s world no 11 Busanan Ongbamrungphan while Kashyap, world no. 32 meets former India Open champion and world No. 26 Beiwen Zhang of the USA in the opening round.

In men’s doubles, fifth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty begin their campaign against Denmark’s Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede, ranked no 31 in the world, and should be targeting a potential quarterfinal clash against top seeds Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan as the first major hurdle in their title defence.

Among the other Indian pairs, world No. 21 M.R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila face sixth seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen of Denmark in the opening round while Krishna Prasad G and Vishnuvardhan Goud P begin their campaign against Netherlands’ Ruben Jille and Ties Van Der Lecq.

In women’s doubles, 2022 All-England semifinalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela will face France’s Margot Lambert and Anne Tran in the opening round while Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam begin their campaign against eighth seeds Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia.

India’s only entry in mixed doubles, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro will face Netherlands’ Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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