French Open: Sindhu, Saina eye revival of fortunes

India's top women shuttlers PV Sindu and Saina Nehwal will look recover from a slump in form and to get back to winning ways at the French Open.

If she crosses the first initial hurdles, P. V. Sindhu could face top seed Tai Tzu Ying in the French Open quarterfinals.   -  PTI

World champion P. V. Sindhu will look to return to winning ways when she gets going at the French Open badminton tournament, beginning here on Tuesday.

Since lifting her maiden World Championships title in August, Sindhu has struggled to find form and has failed to cross the second round in three tournaments. She lost in the second and first rounds at the China Open and Korea Open respectively last month, while she lost in the second round of the 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 at the French Open, Sindhu, a 2017 semifinalist, will be up against Canada’s world number 9 Michelle Li, who has beaten the Indian twice in the past.

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

World number 8 Saina Nehwal is also going through a slump in form and has suffered three first-round exits in her last three tournaments. The 29-year-old, who 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 will face a stiff opening challenge as he will take on 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, while world number 12 Sai Praneeth, who had claimed a bronze at the World Championships, will face Lin Dan. Praneeth had beaten the two-time Olympic champion at Denmark Open last week.

In the doubles department, 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 will face the Dutch combination of Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling, while the other 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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