Reigning World champion PV Sindhu will seek to bounce back quickly after her early exit at the prestigious China Open when she looks to win her second title this season at the Korea Open Super 500 tournament beginning in Incheon on Tuesday.
Besides the World Championships gold, Sindhu has reached the summit clash of only one BWF World Tour event this year – the Indonesia Open Super 1000 – but the title eluded her then.
In her first tournament after winning the World Championships, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu was knocked out of the China Open Super 1000 event by Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the second round last week.
The 26-year-old Indian, who had won the Korea Open title in 2017, will have to sort out the little things that had led to her early ouster in China and turn her focus on the USD 400,000 tournament where she will face a familiar rival in USA’s Beiwen Zhang; a match that could prove to be a tricky opener.
Sindhu had defeated Zhang en route her World Championships gold at Basel and she will look to produce her best again against the Chinese-born shuttler, who had defeated her twice last year at India Open and Denmark Open. In fact, Sindhu has won three on the trot against Zhang after losing three on the trot before that.
A win in the first round may hand Sindhu a chance to avenge her loss in China as she is likely to face Chochuwong again, if the Thai shuttler overcomes Michelle Li.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, who had claimed the Indonesia Masters early in the season, hasn’t looked her usual self later part of this year.
Saina, who has been bothered by pancreatitis and few injuries since, lost in the first round of Malaysia Open, New Zealand Open, Sudirman Cup and China Open. The eighth seeded Indian will hope to turn around her indifferent form when she opens her campaign against Korean Kim Ga Eun.
The 29-year-old from Hyderabad has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Kim and another win over the Korean is likely to pit her against Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.
B Sai Praneeth, who had ended India’s 36 year old wait for a medal at the World Championships, will also look to continue his impressive run after a quarterfinal finish at China Open last week.
However, Praneeth faces an uphill task in the opener when he takes on fifth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark, who had returned with a silver from the World Championship last month.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who has looked impressive this season, will take on a qualifier in his opening round.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who had broken into world’s top 10 after winning the Thailand Open last month, will face fourth seeded Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda in the men’s doubles opening round. The Japanese pair had ended the Indian duo’s tournament in China, incidentally.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on a qualifying pair.
(With PTI inputs)