London: Top Indian Shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will have it easy but Saina Nehwal finds herself in a tough battle against world no 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the opening round of the All England Open stating today.
Saina 27, has a 9-5 overall record against Ying and have last in the last seven outings, with the most recent being the Indonesia Masters, early this year.
Sindhu on the other will open her outing against the relatively unknown Thai Shuttler Pornpawee Chochuwong but may well be facing her India Open final rival Beiwen Zhang in the very next round.
World no 3 Srikanth meanwhile will begin against Frenchman Brice Leverdez. Srikanth who had earlier crashed out of the opening round in the previous year would hope for a change in further after the incredible run he had late in 2017, becoming the first ever Indian shuttler to win four Super Series in a single year.
“The All England is one most prestigious events because it has history of 100 years attached to it. Prakash sir and Gopichand sir have done extremely well at the All England. They will always be a source of inspiration for us. I would say winning these tournaments, will definitely give the player legendary status,” he said.
But despite the golden run Indian baddminton has been going through in recent times, it would require good performance on a consistent basis for five days if they are to keep up to the expectations.
Given the tricky nature of the draw at the USD 1000,000 event, which boasts of a star-studded field, it will not be a cakewalk for the golden trio of Indian badminton.
Singapore Open champion Sai Praneeth and world no 12 H S Prannoy among others will also participate in the competiton. Praneeth will take on former world number on Son Wan Ho of Korea, an opponent he has not beaten yet, in the opening round. Prannoy, who recovered from a foot infection a few weeks back, would take on eighth seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei.
Meanwhile in the doubles category, Indonesia Open semi-finalists Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will face Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan. While Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will share against Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge in the first roun.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will face second seeds Japanese combo of Misaki Matsumo and Ayaka Takahashi. While the Mixed doubles combo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will square off against German pair of Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler.
Singles – Saina Nehwal vs Tai Tzu Ying (1) – 3:50 pm (Estimated Match timings in IST)
Kidambi Srikanth (3) vs Brice Leverdez – 5:10 pm
PV Sindhu (4) vs Pornpawee Chochuwong – 7:30 pm
Sai Praneeth vs Son Wan Ho (5) – 7:30 pm
HS Prannoy vs Chou Tien Chen (8) – 11:30 pm
Doubles – Ashwini Ponappa/Sikki Reddy vs Misaki Matsutomo (2)/Ayaka Takahashi – 4:30 pm
Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy vs Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge – 7:10 pm
Meghana JakkapudiI/Poorvisha Ram vs Shiho Tanaka (5)/Koharu Yonemoto – 4:30 pm
Pranaav Chopra/Sikki Reddy vs Marvin Emil Seidel/Linda Efler – 8:10 pm