Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will lead a strong Indian challenge at the Denmark Open badminton tournament, which gets underway in Odense on Tuesday.
While Sindhu has been seeded third for the event, world No 11 Saina is unseeded.
Sindhu will take on the USA’s Beiwen Zhang in the opening round of the women’s singles and could face world champion Carolina Marin in the quarter-finals if both shuttlers win their first two matches.
Saina, on the other hand, will be up against Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong in the first round. If she wins that match, she could come up against world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi in the second round. Former world champion Nozomi Okuhara is also in Saina’s quarter of the draw.
In the men’s singles, world No 6 Kidambi Srikanth will be India’s best bet and has been seeded seventh for this tournament. However, he has got a tricky draw.
Srikanth will face Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark in the opening round, and could come up against two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in the pre-quarterfinals. If he wins that too, he would face either Jonatan Christie, Shi Yuqi, Wong Wong Ki Vincent or compatriot Sameer Verma in the quarters.
Sameer has got a difficult opening encounter, against third seed Shi Yuqi of China. B Sai Praneeth will play Huang Yuxiang of China in the first round and could take on top seed Viktor Axelsen if they both reach the quarter-finals.
HS Prannoy was drawn to meet former world No 1 Son Wan Ho in the first round but the 15th-ranked Indian has withdrawn from the tournament after the draw was announced because of “health issues”.
In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy have a difficult opening round against the world No 6 pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen. The Danish pair will also have the home crowd backing them. India’s top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are not competing in this tournament as the latter has not travelled to Denmark. Chirag skipped the tournament because he was taking his Bachelor of Commerce degree exams in Mumbai.
Satwik will team up with Ashwini Ponnappa in the mixed doubles, where the Indians will face the Korean combination of Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung in the first round of the mixed doubles competition. If they win that match, they could be up against fourth seeds Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet in the second round.
Ashwini is also playing women’s doubles with partner Sikki Reddy. The Indians will face the American duo of Ariel Lee and Sydney Lee in the first round. They could clash with seventh seeds Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan in the pre-quarters.