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Tricky opening tests for Sindhu, Srikanth at French Open

Press Trust of India

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PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu.

New Delhi: Top Indian shuttlers, including world champion PV Sindhu and former winner Kidambi Srikanth, have been handed tough draws at the French Open World Tour Super 750 tournament, starting in Paris on October 22.

Fifth seeded Sindhu, who made early exits from China and Korea last month, has been pitted against Michelle Li, who remains a tricky customer despite the fact that Sindhu has a 5-2 head-to-head record against the world no 9 Canadian.

Coming back from a knee injury, Srikanth, who had claimed the title in 2017, will open against world no 2 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, who has defeated him thrice in the last three meetings. The only time the Indian had managed to beat Chen was at the 2014 Hong Kong Open.

The former world no 1 Indian had withdrawn from China Open and Korea Open due to his knee injury.

In women’s singles, eighth seed Saina Nehwal, who has had a poor run recently with early exits at China and Korea, will face Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the first round.

The London Olympic bronze medallist, who had been bogged down by injuries and health issues, had to battle through a stomach problem during her first round exit at Korea and hope to make a successful comeback in Paris.

Among other Indians in fray, World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth will face the legendary Lin Dan in the opening round. The world no 12 Indian has lost twice to the two-time Olympic champion from China in the past.

Sameer Verma, who had also pulled out of events in China and Korea due to fitness issues, faces Kenta Nishimoto in the opening round. He had lost to the Japanese in the only meeting at the India Open in 2016.

Recuperating from a bout of dengue, HS Prannoy, who missed events in China and Korea due to the illness and will not play in Denmark next week, will hope to regain his match fitness ahead of the French Open.

He is scheduled to take on former world champion Viktor Axelsen, seeded seventh, who has been laid low by a back injury.

Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who jumped to the world no 25 after a creditable semifinal finish at the Korea Open last week, will square off against Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus, who has reached the finals at Thailand Open and New Zealand Open this year.

Men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who had clinched the Thailand Open recently, will open their campaign against Dutch duo of Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling.

Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on England pair of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in another men’s doubles opener.

Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, who had finished runners-up at Maldives, will square off against South Korean fifth seeds Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will open their campaign against English husband-wife pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock in mixed doubles, while Satwiksairaj and Ashwini will face fourth seeds Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of Korea.

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Badminton News

Sindhu looks to snap run of early exits at French Open

Press Trust of India

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PV Sindhu

Paris: World champion P V Sindhu would look to snap her recent run of early exits when she begins her women’s singles campaign at the USD 750,000 French Open badminton tournament, beginning here on Tuesday.

Since claiming her maiden World Championships title in August, Sindhu has looked awfully out-of-form as she had failed to cross the second round in three tournaments.

She faltered in the second and first rounds at the China Open and Korea Open respectively last month. Sindhu again exited in the second round in straight games against Korea’s An Se Young in Denmark Open last week.

The Olympic silver medallist looked a tad slow in her movement in the last three tournaments, showing signs of dip in her form.

Seeded fifth in the tournament, Sindhu, a 2017 semifinalist, will be up against Canada’s world number 9 Michelle Li, who has beaten the Indian in the past twice.

If Sindhu gets past the early rounds, the world number 6 Indian is likely to face top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

World number 8 Saina Nehwal, who is also taking part in this BWF World Tour Super 750 event, has also been struggling with her fitness and has made three first-round exits in her last three tournaments.

The 29-year-old, who had finished runner-up at the 2012 edition, will meet Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the opening round.

In the men’s singles, 2017 champion Kidambi Srikanth too will be desperate to turn around his poor run in form when he steps out at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin here.

However, it will not be an easy outing for the world number 9 Indian as he opens his campaign against second seed Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.

Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who reached the semifinals at India Open and Korea Open, would look to prove that the first-round exit last week at Denmark Open was an aberration when he lock horns with Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus.

Sameer Verma, who had reached the semifinals of the World Tour Finals last December, will meet Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the opening round.

World number 12 B Sai Praneeth, who had claimed a bronze at the World Championships, will once again face the legendary Lin Dan of China in the opening round.

A 2017 Singapore Open winner, Praneeth had beaten the two-time Olympic champion Chinese at Denmark Open last week.

In the doubles, the women’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will square off against fifth seeded Korean duo of Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan.

The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty face the Dutch combination of Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling. Another men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy and the mixed duo of Satwiksairaj and Ashwini are also in the fray.

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Kuhoo-Dhruv wins badminton mixed doubles title in Egypt

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Kuhoo Garg
Kuhoo Garg

New Delhi: Kuhoo Garg and Dhruv Rawat put up a brilliant effort to win the mixed doubles title at the Egypt International 2019 in Cairo.

The unseeded Garg and Rawat held their nerves for a tight 21-16, 22-20 victory over the third seeds Utkarsh Arora and Karishma Wadkar in an all-Indian final.

Garg and Rawat showed excellent understanding as they had accounted for the second seeds Ahmed Salah and Hadia Hosny 21-16 21-15 of Egypt in the second round and then followed it up with a comeback 16-21 21-16 21-9 win over fourth seeds Koceila Mammeri and Linda Mazri of Algeria in the semi-finals.

Garg, however, failed to have double delight as she later went down in the women’s doubles final with Sanyogita Ghorpade.

The two gave their all before bowing out narrowly, 16-21 21-19 19-21 to third seeds Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker.

Meanwhile, at the Dubai International Challenge, Rituparna Das succumbed to a 21-23, 17-21 defeat in 36 minutes to Japan’s World No. 208 Mako Urushizaki. The World No. 144 was looking for her first BWF title of the year.

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Sindhu exits in 2nd round, Sameer beaten too at Denmark Open

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PV Sindhu

Odense: World Champion P V Sindhu yet again struggled to buck the trend of early exits as she was knocked out of the Denmark Open after a straight-game loss against An Se Young in the second round.

Fifth seed Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist, lost 14-21 17-21 to the Korean in a 40-minute clash at the BWF World Tour Super 750 event.

This was Sindhu’s third successive early exit from a tournament since claiming the World Championship at Basel, Switzerland in August.

The 24-year-old Indian had lost in the second round and first round at the China Open and Korea Open respectively in the last two events.

It turned out to be a dismal day for India as Sameer Verma and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also went down in straight games in their second rounds.

While Sameer lost 12-21 10-21 to Olympic champion Chen Long of China in men’s singles, Thailand Open champions Satwik and Chirag suffered a 16-21 15-21 defeat against sixth seed Chinese combination of Han Cheng Kai and Zhou Hao Dong.

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