The Spain Masters has added importance this year with it being a crucial tournament for players looking to regain their form and fitness and get vital points in order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. India's Kidambi Srikanth had been laid low by injuries and inconsistent form of late even as Sai Praneeth stole the show to become India's No. 1 men's singles shuttler. While the World Championship bronze medallist looks almost certain to make the trip to Japan, Srikanth has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to represent India at the mega-quadrennial Games once again.
After a good workout at the Badminton Asia Team Championships last week, the former World No. 1 is in Barcelona this week to get back his confidence and collect as many ranking points as possible to climb up the 'Race to Tokyo' rankings.
It needs to be noted that the Guntur-born ace is still not at his best, but with a few more matches under the belt he is likely to show glimpses of his 2017 self, where he surged to four Super Series titles. Srikanth can definitely take the positives out of his tough win (23-21, 21-18) over compatriot Subhankar Dey last night. The World No. 45 did make it a highly competitive affair and stayed on Srikanth's toes before eventually succumbing to a straight games defeat.
The World No. 12 now faces World No. 68 Ajay Jayaram, whose last couple of seasons too have been heavily hampered by injuries. Srikanth has a flawless 4-0 record over Jayaram in their head-to-head meetings having conceded only one game in four matches.
Srikanth should bag the win although he needs to be careful to finish the match quickly as Jayaram is coming into this clash after an easy 21-14, 21-12 win over Christo Popov and should be the fresher of the two Indians.
Here's all you need to know about the Spain Masters 2020 Schedule:
Tournament: Barcelona Spain Masters 2020
Category: BWF World Tour Super 300
City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue: Vall d'Hebron Olympic Sports Centre
Prize money: USD 170, 000
Tournament schedule: February 18-23, 2020
Match schedule: (3) Kidambi Srikanth vs Ajay Jayaram second round expected to be approx between 5:30 and 6 pm IST on February 20, 2020
Where to watch the match in India?
There will be no live telecast of this match today. The Barcelona Spain Masters 2020 matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD from the semi-final stages.
You can, however, follow the live scores here.