P.V. Sindhu will look to shrug off her demoralising Swiss Open final defeat and take advantage of a depleted field when she spearheads India’s challenge at the prestigious All England Open badminton championships, beginning here on Wednesday.
Carolina though has pulled out of the prestigious tournament due to an injury. Also missing in action will be the Chinese, Koreans and Chinese Taipei shuttlers, who decided not to compete in the Super 1000 event as it is not part of the Tokyo Olympic qualification period.
It affects the quality of the competition but also provides the 19-member Indian contingent an opportunity to go deep in the draw and recapture the trophy which has been won by just two Indians so far — the legendary Prakash Padukone (1980) and P Gopi Chand (2001).
While former world number one Saina Nehwal had a runner-up finish in 2015, Sindhu’s best finish was a semifinal in 2018.
Among other Indians, K. Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and will look to put their best foot forward.
Fifth seed Sindhu will kick off her campaign with a clash against Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah and is likely to face Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals.
Saina has drawn in-form seventh seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in her first round and might meet Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour next.
In men’s singles, Srikanth will open against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, while B. Sai Praneeth will take on France’s Toma Junior Popov and is likely to clash next with second seed Viktor Axelsen, who has won the two Super 1000 titles in Thailand, and the Swiss Open.
P. Kashyap will open against world number one Japanese Kento Momota, who is returning to international circuit after a horrific car accident last year that saw him undergo an eye surgery.
H.S. Prannoy will meet Malaysia’s Daren Liew.
In men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag will open against Eloi Adam and Julien Maio of France, while mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa will square off against Japanese combo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo.
In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy will take on Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard of Thailand.