The 112th edition of the All England Open will see a reduced Indian contingent heading to Arena Birmingham to compete for the top honors at the elite tournament. The coronavirus outbreak has been playing the role of a major spoilsport in the sporting landscape and has considerably hampered the BWF tour with several tournaments being canceled or postponed.
With as many as seven Indian shuttlers having opted out of the Super 1000 event, only PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, and B. Sai Praneeth will be going to the All England Open to participate in the Singles. In the Doubles, the pairs of Ashwini Ponappa-N Sikki Reddy and Pooja Dandu-Sanjana Santosh are also expected to compete in the March 11-15 event.
The last date for qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (April 26) is rapidly approaching and for ace shuttler Nehwal it is absolute crunch time as she has to give it her all to enter the Top 16 again. Nehwal, who has been a finalist at the 2015 All England Open where she fell to Spain's Carolina Marin will be desperate this time to claw up the rankings list. A tough challenge awaits her in the first round clash as she will have to face third-seeded Akane Yamaguchi. Nehwal has only managed to win twice against the powerful Japanese in their 10 meetings so far.
Sindhu, who is seeded sixth in the tournament, will open her campaign against World No.13, Beiwen Zhang. The reigning World Champion, who is eager for victory, has been victorious against the American on five occasions out of the nine times they have met. In their last meeting at the Korea Open 2019, it was Zhang who took home the match. The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist will look to pack in a punch as the main round action will begin in Birmingham.
On the men's front, World No.11, Praneeth will face China's Jun Peng Zhao in his opening match. The duo have only clashed once in their career way back during the 2016 Macau Open. It was Zhao who had the last laugh on that occasion but given Praneeth's revamped form, he will definitely put up a stiff competition.
Srikanth, who had a lackluster 2019, is desperate to find his form back and maintain his place inside the Top 16. Faced with a tough challenge for his opening match, Srikanth will have to go up against China's Chen Long who enjoys a massive head-to-head lead over the former World No.1 shuttler. With a 6-2 edge over Srikanth, Long will definitely throw a difficult challenge in the way of the Indian.
Although the chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics seem bleak for the women's doubles players, the duo of Ponappa and Reddy will clash against the Australian pair of Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville in the first round. On the other hand, the Indian duo of Pooja and Sanjana will go up against Malaysia's Vivian Hoo and Cheng Wen Yap.
Here's all you need to know about the All England Open 2020 Badminton Schedule:
Date: March 11 - March 15, 2020
Tournament: Yonex All England Open 2020
Category: BWF World Tour Super 1000
Location: Arena Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Prize Money: $1,100,000
Time:The matches will take place from approx. 02:30 PM IST
Where to watch All England Open 2020?
India- The tournament will be broadcasted by Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD.
Live streaming details for All England Open 2020
Yonex All England Open 2020 can be followed live on the official tournament website.
The matches can also be live streamed on Hotstar also.