HYDERABAD, September 16: Newly crowned world champion PV Sindhu will be keen to extend her dominance and improve her ranking as she competes at the China Open, the last of the BWF Super-1000 tournament of the year, which kicks off in Changzhou on Tuesday.
Ranked No.5 in the world, the Indian ace looks to rise No.2 before the Olympics draw as a higher rank helps one to get easier opponents in the early stages of the draw.
Sindhu, along with Saina Nehwal, is in the lower half of the draw in China. The 24-year-old will begin against 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the first round. Xuerui, whose career was affected by persistent injuries, is a shadow of herself and is no longer a big threat to Sindhu. In fact, Sindhu announced her arrival on the world stage after she stunned Xuerui at China Open, just a month after the former won the Olympic gold in 2012.
Sindhu is likely to face Michelle Li of Canada in the second round and may meet All England champion Chen Yu Fei in the quarterfinals.
Saina is also expected to reach the quarterfinals without breaking much sweat. In the quarters, the seasoned Indian campaigner, who is still hungry for more success, is likely to face her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. If Saina beats Tai she may run into Sindhu in the semifinal. China has been one of the favourite hunting grounds for Saina. The Indian stamped her class in 2014 when the Chinese were at their peak. Her victory that year is considered by many as having effectively ended the Chinese dominance in women’s singles.
Top European shuttlers Carolina Marin of Spain and Viktor Axelsen will be back in the top league after a long injury lay off. Marin, in fact, had a forgettable comeback at Vietnam Open last week as she crashed out in the first round. Even at Changzhou she faces a formidable rival in Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the first round.
Kidambi Srikanth, the 2014 China Open champion, pulled out of the tournament in the last minute. Srikanth and Sameer Verma are injured while HS Prannoy withdrew due to dengue, the epidemic which affected thousands and killed at least 100 in Hyderabad. (TNN)