HYDERABAD, January 11: International badminton will return to the courts with the Thailand Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Bangkok on Tuesday.
The virus-hit badminton calendar will get rolling with this $1,00,000 tournament. The badminton activity came to an abrupt halt after the end of the All England Open on March 15 last year. Though the Denmark Open and a couple of other smaller tournaments were held from October, the real action begins in Bangkok.
Despite the pullouts of the Chinese and Japanese teams, the tournament did not lose any sheen as the enthusiasm to get back into action has become the top priority for the players, organisers and fans.
Meanwhile, PV Sindhu will lead the Indian campaign. The world champion, who had a three-month stint with the English team in London, will be keen to make a mark at this event.
Sindhu got a decent draw and is expected to meet Saina Nehwal in the quarterfinals. Saina, too, is expected to reach the last eight stage without much difficulty. Interestingly, despite Sindhu winning more big titles than Saina, the latter had an upper hand over Sindhu when they played against each other. With Sindhu having a stint in London and Saina training hard at the national camp in Hyderabad, the quarterfinal will be a mouthwatering contest.
Saina along with Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy was affected by Covid-19 last month.
Neither Saina nor Sindhu may qualify for the Tour Finals to be held in Bangkok from January 27.
Former world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth may be the lone Indian to qualify for the Tour Finals. Srikanth will have a tough first round when he faces compatriot Sourabh Verma in the first round. The winner of this tie will face either HS Prannoy or Zii Jia Lee of Malaysia. Sourabh’s younger brother Sameer may run into second seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the second round.
In the top half of the draw, Sai Praneeth is expected to have a tough outing against local talent Kantaphon Wangcharoen, while Parupalli Kashyap may face sixth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the second round.
Men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be tested when they square up against Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae of Korea. Manu Attri and Sumeeth may have it easy in the first round. The third Indian men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila play Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ed Yi of Malaysia.
Women’s doubles of Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will have to be at their best when they play fourth seeds Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong of Korea on Tuesday. (TNN)