Indonesian Open: Sindhu, Srikanth begin quest for title

Titles have proved elusive for P. V. Sindhu since the gold medal at the World Tour Finals last December, while Kidambi Srikanth will test his form and fitness after being sidelined with a knee injury ahead of the Sudirman Cup.

P. V. Sindhu must get past Nozomi Okuhara to reach the quarterfinal if she opens with a win against another Japanese Aya Ohori.   -  AFP

Rejuvenated after a month’s break, Olympic silver medallist P. V. Sindhu will look to produce the goods and break this season’s title drought when she spearheads the Indian campaign at the USD 1,250,000 Indonesia Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 beginning here Tuesday.

A title has eluded Sindhu ever since she stood on the podium with the gold medal at the World Tour Finals last December.

Sindhu has not looked her usual self as she failed to reach a single final so far this season and has made it to only two semi-finals in six tournaments.

The fifth-seeded Indian will have her first final of the season in sight when she opens against Japan’s Aya Ohori Wednesday. However, it will be easier said than done as another Japanese Nozomi Okuhara stands on her way to the quarterfinals.

“It has not been really great. I think I have to do much better. I have worked on mental as well as physical fitness. I have been working out on my skills a lot more,” Sindhu had said recently.

Read: Building momentum the aim for Srikanth head into Tokyo 2020

Saina Nehwal, the only Indian to win a title this season at Malaysia Masters earlier in the year, has been suffering from multiple injuries and will not feature in the prestigious tournament.

In men’s singles, world No. 9 Kidambi Srikanth, who was sidelined by a knee injury ahead of the Sudirman Cup, will also test his form and fitness when he opens against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto.

Srikanth had reached the finals at India Open this season and he would look to put another good performance at a tournament, which he had won in 2017.

B. Sai Praneeth, who has looked in good touch having reached the finals at Swiss Open, will be up against Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent, while H, S. Prannoy will face an imposing task of taming second seed China’s Shi Yu Qi Wednesday.

Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy will meet Malaysian combo of Vivian Hoo and Yap Cheng Wen, while men’s doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will take on Malaysian pair of Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin.

Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will face Netherlands’ Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.

Indian shuttlers didn’t set the stage on fire this season with just Saina winning a title and chief coach Pullela Gopichand blamed it on the number of injuries, and hoped they would do well in the second half of the year.

“It has been tough this season. The busy schedule and a few injuries to key players have taken a toll. But I am hopeful in the next three weeks, we will get some good results,” Gopichand said.

“We had a change in the coaching system with new coaches coming in. The players had a good three weeks training, so we hope for some good results in the coming events, starting with Indonesia,” he added.

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