While the focus will be on PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy at the Japan Open Super 750 Badminton tournament starting in Tokyo on Tuesday, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, fresh off their Korea Open victory, will look to continue their dream run. 2022 Commonwealth Games-winning Indian doubles pair Satwik-Chirag on Sunday extended their winning streak to 10 matches by stunning world number one pair Fajr Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto after a hard-fought battle.
Having won the Swiss Open, Asian Championship and Indonesia Open this year, they are in the form of their career and the third-seeded Indians face Indonesia’s Leo Rolli Karnando-Daniel Martin in the opening round.
Exactly a year before the Paris Olympics, Sindhu’s dynamic form was the biggest talking point in the Indian badminton circuit.
The two-time Olympic medalist and former world champion has been a shadow of her former self since her injury rehabilitation, falling to world No. 17 after first-round exits in six of the 12 BWF World Tour events this year.
The latest was last week’s loss to lower-ranked Pai Yu-po at the Korea Open last week, under the guidance of his top coach Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, the 2003 All-England champion.
Sindhu was prone to errors and struggled to finish points even against lower ranked players. She needs to work on a fast-paced, aggressive game to fight against her opponents.
Sindhu’s opening-round upset this time was Zhang Yi-Mane, who the Indian beat in the Malaysian Open quarter-finals on her way to a semi-final finish in May this year. With the latest win, Sindhu has a 2-2 record against 20th-ranked China, who will look to make up lost ground.
But if Sindhu gets past the first round hurdle, she will be up against her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying, who has beaten the Indian nine times in a row in recent times with a 19-5 unbeaten record.
Prannoy, who won his maiden BWF World Tour title at the Malaysia Masters in May, remained India’s top-ranked player but dropped two places to 10th.
Prannoy, who lost in the second round at the Korea Open last week, will face eighth seed and unseeded Li Shifeng of China.
Kidambi Srikanth will compete against Chow Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei.
After clearing the hurdles in the opening round, Prannoy and Srikanth will meet in a battle for the quarter-finals, where either of them will face the toughest test yet, against top seed Viktor Axelsen.
The tournament will also mark the return of youngster Lakshya Sen, who took a break and skipped the Korea Open after winning the Canada Open earlier this month.
Upcoming youngster Priyanshu Rajawat and Sen face each other in an all-Indian opening round clash.
If he gets past Rajawat, Sen could face a tough test in second seed Indonesia’s Anthony Sinizuka Ginting in the next round.
Malavika Bansod will face local challenger Aya Ohori, while Akarshi Kashyap will take on top seed Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles opening round.
In men’s doubles, MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila will take on Malaysia’s fourth seeds Aaron Chia-So Wooi Yik.
In the women’s doubles, Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Teresa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will take on local favorites Sayaka Hobara and Yui Suisu.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff, but was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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