India’s double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma, the two standout singles players at last week’s Denmark Open Super 1000 will be in focus, as the Indian badminton campaign kicks off at the French Open Super 750 starting in Paris on Tuesday.
Playing her first event in two months, Sindhu lost in the quarter-finals to fast-rising Korean An Seyoung. Before that, she had needed three games to go past Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan to reach the last-eight stage.
Sindhu, the reigning world champion, didn’t have any plan B against An, who didn’t allow the Indian to play her attacking game. The 26-year-old from Hyderabad, who will open against Denmark’s Julie Dawall Jakobsen this week, will look to iron out her flaws after this week.
She is likely to come across opponents like Denmark’s Line Christophersen, Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour or Busanan again in the next rounds.
London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, who was troubled by a groin injury at the Uber Cup Final but played at Denmark Open only to lose in the opening round, will hope to make a winning start when she opens against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi.
In men’s singles, all eyes will be on Sameer Verma after his stunning run last week. The 25-year-old stunned world No 3 Anders Antonsen in Odense before a calf injury forced him to retire from the quarter-finals against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto. He will play Lee Dong Keun in his opener.
Kidambi Srikanth will be up against world No 1 Kento Momota of Japan for the second time in two weeks. In Denmark, Srikanth did put up a fight in the opening game but he ran out of steam in the second against Momota, who put up a solid display in the tournament to eventually reach the finals at Denmark.
Former top 10 player, HS Prannoy had a decent outing at Denmark and will have his task cut out against fourth-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. The in-form Lakhsya Sen will take on Nhat Nguyen while Sourabh Verma will start his campaign against Ygor Coelho. Parupalli Kashyap, who had retired in the opening round last week due to a hamstring injury, will meet France’s Brice Leverdez in the first round.
In men’s doubles, the world No 10 duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, seeded fifth, will square off against Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuan, while MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila face Ireland duo of Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on the Korean combination of Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baekcheol.
In the women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy open against top seeds Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan of Korea, while Meghana Jakkampudi and S Ram Poorvisha will play with Netherlands’ Alyssa Tirtosentono and Imke Van Der Aar.
Satwiksairaj and Ashwini will also pair up, taking on Denmark’s Mathias Thyrri and Mai Surrow in mixed doubles opener.
With PTI Inputs
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