India’s top shuttlers P. V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal could be pitted against each other in the USD 350,000 India Open 2018 Badminton Championship, scheduled from January 30-February 4.
The men’s section could see a repeat of last edition’s summit clash with world champion and holder Viktor Axelsen and Kidambi Srikanth seeded first and second.
In the women’s event, two Indian stars can well run into each other in the summit clash, if Sindhu lives up her billing as top seed and Saina pulls off an upset in the semi-final.
Defending champion Sindhu has received top billing for the tournament. The World Championship silver medallist will begin her campaign against Denmark’s Natalia Rohde and barring any surprises her real challenge will come in the form of former world champion Ratchanok Intanon in the semi-finals.
In the bottom half, fourth seed Nehwal will face another Dane, Sofie Dahl in the opening round and fifth seed Beiwen Zhang will be her likely opponent in the quarterfinals.
There is a realistic possibility of an all-Indian final, with either Spain’s Carolina Marin or China’s Gao Fangjie standing in the 27-year old London Olympic bronze medallist’s path.
Coming to the men’s event, Srikanth will open his campaign against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu while world number 10 HS Prannoy will face a qualifier in his opening match.
Among the other Indians, Singapore Open champion B. Sai Praneeth will face Rajiv Ouseph of England in the opening round while Commonwealth Games’ gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap will begin his campaign against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark and Ajay Jayaram against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.
In the men’s doubles, Indonesia Masters quarterfinalist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will meet Hong Kong’s Chang Tak Ching and Hee Chun Mak while national champions B. Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri will challenge sixth seeds Ong Yew Sing and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia.
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