Japan Open: PV Sindhu, the cynosure of all eyes

PV Sindhu (Image credit- AFP)

Kolkata: After becoming the first Indian to win the Korean Open, the newly crowned champion PV Sindhu will aim for the fourth super series title of her career when she takes on Japanese Minatsu Mitani in the USD $325,000 Japan Open. Ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth who did not take part in the Korea Open will also be seen in action.

The 22-year-old may again face world champion Nozomi Okuhara for a third time in successive tournaments if she can go past Mitani, whom she had defeated in the semi-final in the previous tournament. If Okuhara also defeats Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi another clash with the Indian is on the cards.

Just a couple of days ago, Sindhu had defeated Japanese Okuhara in the finals of the Koran Open to claim her second Super Series title of the season. She will look to repeat the feat once again in her aim for the third straight title.

Kidambi Srikanth who has already won the Indonesian and the Australian Super Series titles this season will face the World No 10 Tian Houwei of China in his opening match. The World No 8, Srikanth however does not have a good record against his opponent losing six of the total seven meetings between the two.

Meanwhile, World Championships bronze medalist Saina Nehwal who returned after a big surgery will take on Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in her opening match of the tournament. She had already defeated the 19-year-old in the finals of the Malaysia Masters, earlier this year. Saina may have to face Olympic Champion Carolina Marin in the second round, if the Spaniard can overcome China’s Chen Xiaoxin in her opener.

In the men’s singles HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth and Sourabh and Sameer Verma (brothers) are among the Indian shuttlers who are set to take part in the Japan Premier. Prannoy, who won the US Open will face Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, while Sourabh will square off against the legendary Lin Dan in the opening round.

Former junior world champions Praneeth and Sameer along with Commonwealth Games winner Parupalli Kashyap will play in the qualifiers starting on Tuesday, to progress to the main event of the Japan Super Series.

In the mixed doubles category, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will face the fifth seeded Thai pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, while Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki will come up against the third seeded Korean duo of Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee in the opening round.

Other Indian shuttlers in the fray, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face the Malaysian pair of Jian Yi Lee and Zhen Ting Lim, while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who had made it to their first ever Super Series quarterfinals at Korea last week, take on the local combo of Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Hiroyuki Saeki in the men’s doubles category.

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