Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are likely to square off in the second round of the Indonesia Masters Super 500 tournament beginning in Jakarta on Tuesday.
World Champion Sindhu and title-holder Saina looked impressive in their season-opening matches in Malaysia Masters before their respective campaigns ended in the quarter-finals with straight game losses. The duo will need to step up if they want to put up an impressive show this week.
While Sindhu will hope to find her rhythm quickly after a 16-2,1 16-21 loss to Tai Tzu Ying, defending champion Saina too will have to get over a humbling 8-21, 7-21 defeat to three-time world champion Carolina Marin.
Fifth seed Sindhu will open against Japan’s Aya Ohori, whom she beat last week in the second round, while Saina faces another Japanese Sayaka Takahashi in her opening match. Both Indian shuttlers are expected to overcome their respective first-round opponents and cross swords in what would be their fifth encounter at the international stage.
Sindhu, considered a revered opponent in world badminton, has a 1-3 record against Saina. All the four matches between the duo have ended in straight games.
While Sindhu has beaten Saina a few times in the Premier Badminton League, she has suffered defeats at the international stage. Sindhu suffered a loss at the 2018 Commonwealth Games final.
Among other Indians, Kidambi Srikanth, who exited in the first round of Malaysia Masters, will start his campaign against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth, who too failed to cross the opening hurdle at Malaysia, will face eighth seeded Chinese Shi Yu Qi.
Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy, who had become the victims of world No 1 Japanese Kento Momota last week in the first and second rounds respectively, will open against local stars Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie respectively.
Sameer Verma had lost in the second round after a hard-fought battle against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia last week and he will meet veteran Tommy Sugiarto in the first round.
In doubles, men’s pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will square off against Indonesian heroes Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, seeded second. The other mixed doubles pairing of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki face a qualifier in the first round.