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Badminton: PV Sindhu, Srikanth Kidambi set to lead India’s challenge at Indonesia Open

Sports Lounge Staff




New Delhi: Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and former world No 1 Srikanth Kidambi will look to build on their recent performances when they compete at the $850,000 Indonesia Open starting in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday.

Just days after their semifinal finishes at the Indonesia Masters Super 750, the two top Indian shuttlers will begin their campaign at the World Tour Super 1000 event in their quest for a title.

Sindhu, the reigning world champion, last reached the finals of a tournament at the Swiss Open. She came close to the summit clash by reaching the semifinals on three occasions, including her last two tournaments.

Last week, Sindhu’s campaign was cut short by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi with a straight-game win and the Indian will look to quickly recover from the loss.

The third-seeded Indian will begin her campaign against Japan’s Aya Ohori and could face Canadian sixth seed Michelle Li in the quarterfinals if she can cross the early rounds.

Srikanth, who had claimed four titles in 2017, has regained some form with two back-to-back semifinal finishes at the Hylo Open and Indonesia Masters last week and he will be keen to continue his good run and break his title drought.

Srikanth was beaten by Anders Antonsen of Denmark last Saturday in the semifinals and he will look to put that disappointment behind when he faces HS Prannoy, who will look to bounce back after being outwitted by his compatriot last week.

Prannoy, who was down with Covid-19 last year, showed glimpses of his best when he notched up an upset win over Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Victor Axelsen of Denmark last week and he will hope to continue the momentum this week.

World No 16 B Sai Praneeth, who became a father recently, will also hope to turn his form around when he meets France’s Toma Junior Popov in the opening round.

Lakshya Sen, who is ranked fourth in the Race To Guangzhou, will face an uphill task against the top seed and two-time world champion Kento Momota in his opening match, while Parupalli Kashyap squares off with Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew.

Among other Indians in the fray, the sixth-seeded men’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has got a bye in the opening round, while MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will face Korea’s Choi SolGyu and Kim Won Ho.

The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will face the fifth-seeded Bulgarian duo of Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva.

In mixed doubles, Ashwini will pair up with B Sumeeth Reddy, while Sikki Reddy will play with Kapila. Juhi Dewangan and Venkat Gaurav Prasad are also in the fray in the mixed doubles.

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