The unseeded Indian duo have been lucky enough to score a relatively easier draw, compared to their rest of Indian contingent at the prestigious tournament in Birmingham.
Ponnappa and Reddy will open their campaign against the Australian duo of Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville. The Indians have beaten their oppenents for they on two prior occasions and despite their slightly lower ranking, will be the favourites to win this one.
Not that they should take any oppenent lightIy, but it does seem to be a rather winnable match-up for the Indian duo. It's what awaits them from there on out, that will be the real test.
The experienced duo of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto of Japam are the likely oppenents for the Indian duo, were they to go through to the second round.
The Indians have succumbed to the more fancied Japanese oppenents on seven occasions in the last three years. And while avenging their loss looks like an uphill task, it is definitely doable.
Ponnappa, in particular, has played the Japanese duo enough times to know their game well. She even came close to beating them with former partner Jwala Gutta a few year ago. The 30-year-old from Bangalore will be keen to get one back this time around.
With a new coaching team in place, it might as well be the best time to go in for broke against a rather defensive pair. If Ponnappa can set Sikki up enough at the net during the match, the Indians will win quick points against the Japanese. That's a strategy that worked with Gutta and Ponnappa and should be even more effective now, with the Takahashi and Matsumoto not being their sharpest selves.
A win in the second round will only mean tougher oppenents for the Indians going forward, but it will be a start. And with the form that the Indian duo has been in recent months, that's what they really need at this point.Published 10 Mar 2020, 18:02 IST