Internet Desk: PV Sindhu will spearhead the Indian Badminton line-up at the $400,000 Hong Kong Open Super Series, which is set to start from Tuesday. It would be a tough battle for the Rio Olympic silver medallist as she will be playing her fifth successive tournament in just over a month of time.
Left with little time to prepare after literally living out of a suitcase in the last month, Sindhu found the going tough last week as she was a tad slow in her movement on court and her strokes also lacked the trademark sharpness.
The result was Sindhu suffered a listless loss against a young talent in China’s Gao Fangjie, who went on to reach the final at China Open Super Series premier last week.
The Indian will have to recover quickly from that defeat and put her best foot forward against a qualifier in the opening round.
The 22-year-old from Hyderabad is expected to meet Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the quarters if she crosses the first two rounds. Yamaguchi has been in sizzling form this season and clinched the China Open title last week after making her third successive final.
World No. 2 K Srikanth, who has clinched four titles and reached five finals this season, will be missing in action for the second successive week after failing to completely recover from a muscle strain.
Among other Indians, national champions Saina Nehwal and H S Prannoy have also been on the road like Sindhu and they too will look to end the season on a high.
While World No. 10 Prannoy will face experienced Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in the opening round, Saina, ranked 11th, opens her campaign against Denmark’s Mette Poulsen in the women’s singles.
An exciting battle would be on the cards if Saina crosses the opening hurdle as she is likely to clash with World No. 10 Chen Yufei, who had defeated Sindhu in the opening round at Denmark Open last month.
After opting out of last week’s China Superseries Premier, men’s singles players B Sai Praneeth and P Kashyap will return to action this week with the former taking on second seed Korean Son Wan Ho.
Kashyap will face Chinese Taipei’s Kan Chao Yu in the qualifier, while Sourabh Verma will fight it out with Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.
National champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face qualifiers in the men’s doubles, while second seeds Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok will take on Hong Kong’s Li Kuen Hon and Yeung Shing Choi in the qualifying round.
Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy will meet China’s Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei in women’s doubles.
Meanwhile, Pranaav Jerry Chopra has pulled out of the tournament after failing to recover from a leg injury he suffered during the National Championship.
With inputs from PTI.