Fresh from winning their first BWF World Tour title in 2023 at the Swiss Open Super 300, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be looking forward to retaining their consistency at the Spanish Masters, also a Super 300 level event, starting on March 28 in Madrid.
While Satwik-Chirag, the second seed, remains India’s biggest medal hope, eyes will also be on P.V. Sindhu, the world no. 9 and second seed, and veteran Saina Nehwal.
Sindhu last week won her first match of 2023 when she defeated Switzerland’s wildcard entry Jenjira Stadelmann in the first round. However, the two-time Olympic medallist was knocked out in the second round by 20-year-old Putri Kusuma Wardani, ranked 38th in the world.
Satwik-Chirag will begin their campaign against world no. 41 Ayato Endo-Yuta Takei, while Saina faces third seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan. Sindhu, meanwhile, will be up against a qualifier.
Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap are the other Indians who will be in the fray in women’s singles.
This will be, meanwhile, Saina’s first event since she made a pre-quarterfinal exit from Indonesia Masters in January.
In women’s doubles, sixth seed Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, the All England Open semifinalist, will look to overcome their heartbreaking first-round loss at the Swiss Open. They take on Japanese Rena Miyura-Ayako Sakuramoto in the opening round. Ashwini Bhat-Sikha Gautam, the world no. 36, will look to make it to the second round when they face world no. 28 Margot Lambert-Anne Tran of France.
In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth, the fifth seed, will lead the Indian attack in absence of H.S. Prannoy and Lakshya Sen. Srikanth will play Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand in the first round.
B. Sai Praneeth, meanwhile, faces Mark Caljouw of France in his first match. Mithun Manjunath and Sameer Verma are the other Indian men’s singles players who will be in action at the tournament.
B. Sumeeth Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa, the lone mixed doubles pairing from India participating in the Spanish Masters, will have to play the qualifiers to make an inroad to the main draw.
Parupalli Kashyap, Kiran Geroge, Meiraba Luwang Maisnam and Priyanshu Rajawat in men’s singles, and Ashmita Chaliha in women’s singles will play in the qualifiers. N. Sikki Reddy-Arathi Sara Sunil and Simran Singhi-Ritika Thaker in women’s doubles have also been placed in the qualifiers.
Indians in action
The live streaming of the Spanish Masters 2023 will be available on BWF TV, the official YouTube channel of the Badminton World Federation.
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