Indian challenge at the India Open 2019 will be spearheaded by PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal as the three top Indian singles shuttlers at the tournament, which is set to start on March 26. On the other hand, the tournament is set to welcome its biggest-ever Chinese contigent in New Delhi.
The tournament this time will be held at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall of Indira Gandhi International Stadium after eight successful years at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
In women’s singles for India, PV Sindhu is the second seed while Saina Nehwal has been seeded fifth this time. Sindhu will come into the tournament having won the 2017 edition and as the runners-up of the 2018 edition.
In men’s singles, 2015 champion Kidambi Srikanth has been seeded third while BWF World Tour Finals semi-finalist Sameer Verma is the fifth seed. Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap and Subhankar Dey will also carry the home hopes.
YUFEI, YUQI COME WITH BIGGEST-EVER CHINESE CONTINGENT
Newly-crowned All England Championships champion Chen Yufei and defending men’s singles champion Shi Yuqi will lead the draw as they come into the tournament this time along with a bunch of Chinese shuttlers.
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 makes her return while Chen Xiaoxin and Cai Yanyan are the other Chinese in the draw.
Shi Yuqi, whose All England title defence ended in the semi-finals to Viktor Axelsen, will hope to defend his title at the India Open. The world No.2 Chinese, who begins his challenge against compatriot Huang Yuxiang, could meet his countryman Zhou Zeqi in the quarter-finals. World No. 19 Lu Guangzu and the 37th ranked Zhao Junpeng will clash in yet another thrilling all-Chinese face-off.
The highly popular Viktor Axelsen, second seed this time and winner in 2017, will look to continue his good form that saw him reach the final of the All England Championships earlier this month.
INDIA’S DOUBLES CONTINGENT
The third-seeded men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will begin their 2019 season at the India Open 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, the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals champions.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy are unseeded and could face the fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the second round.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist combination of Reddy and Ponnappa will look to pull off an upset over the sixth seeds Li Wenmei and Zheng Yu in women’s doubles.