Yuqi, Chen to headline India Open

The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by second seed and 2017 winner P.V. Sindhu and two-time champion Saina Nehwal, seeded fifth this time.

China shuttler Shi Yuqi in action at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham last week.   -  AFP

 

Newly crowned All England Open champion Chen Yufei and defending men’s singles champion Shi Yuqi will lead the draw in the ninth edition of the Yonex Sunrise India Open starting on March 26 at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall of Indira Gandhi International Stadium in New Delhi.

The new address — moving from the Siri Fort Sports Complex — of the USD 350,000 tournament will also welcome a bigger Chinese contingent.

Having upset the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the final of the All England Open last week, World No. 2 Yufei will command a lot of attention. The main draw of women's singles has as many as six Chinese shuttlers, with World No. 7 He Bingjiao and World No. 14 Han Yue receiving the third and seventh seeding respectively.

Former champion and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui is set for a return, while Chen Xiaoxin and Cai Yanyan are the other Chinese in the draw.

READ| India Open moves to new address

The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by second seed and 2017 winner P.V. Sindhu and two-time champion Saina Nehwal, seeded fifth this time.

The highly popular Viktor Axelsen, second seed this time and winner of 2017, will look to continue his All England Open form.

Six Indian shuttlers are vying for the title. While 2015 champion Kidambi Srikanth has been seeded third, BWF World Tour Finals semi-finalist Sameer Verma is the fifth seed. Sai Praneeth, H.S. Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap, Subhankar Dey will look to dominate as well.

The third-seeded men's’ doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will begin their 2019 season amid a lot of expectations. Former national champions Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy are the only other Indian pair to have been seeded at sixth; 2018 World Championships quarter-finalists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa are the eighth seeds in the mixed doubles draw which is led by the Chinese pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy are unseeded and could face the fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the second round.