World champion PV Sindhu will try to lift her demoralizing final defeat at the Swiss Open and take advantage of the exhausted field when she heads India’s challenge at the prestigious All England Open badminton championship, which starts here on Wednesday.
Sindhu seemed a pale shadow of himself in his defeat against Carolina Marin, coming down without much struggle as he struggled to contain his mistakes.
Carolina, the three-time world champion from Spain, although withdrew from the prestigious tournament due to injury, taking a little shine from the event.
The shuttles from China, Korea and China, which decided not to compete in the Super 1000, as it is not part of the qualifying period for Tokyo, are also missing.
This affects the quality of the race, but also allows the 19-member Indian contingent to go deep into the draw and reclaim the trophy won by only two Indians so far – the legendary Prakash Padukone (1980) and P. Gopichand (2001).
While former world number one Saina Neval was second in second place in 2015, Sindhu’s best final was a semifinal in 2018, but none of the other Indian shuttles have managed to get deep into the tournament so far.
Olympic medalist with a silver medal Sindhu will again be one of the best contenders, but Saina is not far from his best result with only two quarterfinals in the last two years.
Among the other Indians, former number one Kidambi Shrikant and the pair of young couples Satviksayray Rankiredi and Chirag Sheti, who are currently ranked 10th in the world, had a good start at the Swiss Open and will strive to put their best foot forward.
Fifth seed Sindhu will start his campaign with a clash against Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah and will likely face Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals, provided he wins his first rounds.
The bronze medalist from the Olympic Games in London Saina attracted the seventh winner in form Mia Blihfeld from Denmark in her first round and may meet the Scot Christie Gilmore.
In the men’s singles, Srikanth will face Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, while World Championship bronze medalist B Sai Praneeth will face France’s Thomas Junior Popov and will likely face second-placed Victor Axelsen, who won both Super 1000 titles. Thailand, and the Swiss Open.
British Community Games gold medalist Parupali Kasyap will open against world number one Japan’s Kento Momota, who is returning to the international circuit after a horrific car crash last year in which he underwent eye surgery.
He had also gone to bed after concluding with COVID-19.
Among others in the fight, former top 10 player HS Prannoy will meet Malaysian Daren Liew, from whom he lost at the Toyota Thailand Open in January.
Sameer Verma will face Ygor Coelho of Brazil in the first round and may face third seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark. The young Lakshiya Sen will meet the Thai Cantafon Wangcharoen.
In the men’s doubles, Satwick and Chirag will open against Eloy Adam and Julien Mayo of France, while a mixed doubles pair, Satvik and Ashvini Ponapa, will face the Japanese combination of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo.
The pair of young men with MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will face the Malaysian couple Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
In the women’s doubles, bronze medalists from the British Community Games Ashwini Ponapa and N Siki Reddy will compete with Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard from Thailand.
Poorvisha Ram and Meghana J will fight against the pair of Danes Alexandra Boje and Mette Poulsen and Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam will meet the English Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith.
In the mixed doubles, Pranav Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will face Max Flynn and Jessica Pew of England, while Dhruv Kapila and Meghana J will face Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti of Indonesia.