Australian Open 2018: Praneeth to spearhead Indian challenge

Established stars such as P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Ashwini Ponnappa are not part of the tournament.

In the men’s singles, world No.18 B. Sai Praneeth (above) has been handed a top seeding and he will meet Israel’s Misha Zilberman in the opening round.   -  AFP

Fresh from his semifinal appearance in New Zealand and in the absence of the top guns, B. Sai Praneeth will lead the Indian challenge at the Australian Australian Open HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300, starting, here, on Wednesday.

Established stars such as P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Ashwini Ponnappa are not part of the tournament. In their absence, Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will lead India’s campaign.

Several big names have pulled out of the low-key tournament. Manu-Sumeeth have been seeded third and will open their campaign against Australian pair of Lukas Defolky and Michael Fariman.

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The other Indian men’s doubles pair of Arjun M.R. and Ramchandran Shlok will meet Australians Tam Raymond and Eric Vuong.

Another Indian men’s doubles pair of Rohan Kapoor and Shivam Sharma will meet Malaysians Tang Jie Chen and Goh Soon Huat, while eighth seeds Francis Alwin and K. Nandagopal will face Tae In Jung and Hwi Tae Kim.

In the men’s singles, world No.18 Praneeth has been handed a top seeding and he will meet Israel’s Misha Zilberman in the opening round.

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Fourth seed Sameer Verma faces New Zealand’s Abhinav Manota, while Sourabh Verma will take on Takuma Ueda of Japan. Ajay Jayaram will face Japanese Riichi Takeshita, while Lakshya Sen will take on Hong Kong seventh seed, Lee Cheuk Yiu.

In the women’s singles, Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka will meet Japanese Ayumi Mine and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli will take on Indonesia’s Yulia Yosephin Susanto. Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka will meet Georgina Bland of England.

In the women’s doubles, J. Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram will face Maggie Chan and Jodee Vega of Australia.