After a disappointing campaign last week at the Denmark Open, where none of the Indian shuttlers reached the semifinals, the action now moves to Paris for the French Open Badminton 2021. The World Tour Super 750 event will provide the Indian contingent another opportunity to redeem themselves and get some much-needed wins under their belt ahead of the BWF World Tour Finals and the BWF World Championships in December.
Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu will undoubtedly be India's biggest attraction at the French Open Badminton 2021 that is scheduled to be held from October 26-31. Seeded third at this tournament, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist has been placed in the bottom half of the draw.
Sindhu begins her campaign against World No. 39 Julie Dawall Jakobsen. She will get enough time to play into form before potentially facing Denmark Open champion Akane Yamaguchi or her last week's conqueror An Seyoung in the final.
Saina Nehwal, meanwhile, has been handed yet another tough draw. The former World No. 1, who suffered a loss and had a retirement in her last couple of matches, faces World No. 15 Sayaka Takahashi in her opener. With the Japanese having beaten Nehwal the last three times, the Indian definitely has an uphill task on her hands.
Former French Open Badminton champion Kidambi Srikanth leads Indian men's singles challenge
2017 French Open Badminton champion Kidambi Srikanth returns to the scene of his last Superseries win at this tournament. Since then, the Indian has mightily struggled to regain his form.
Although he showed signs of his brilliance against World No. 1 Kento Momota in the opening game at the Denmark Open last week, the second game was a whimper from the Indian. Having eventually fallen 21-23, 9-21 to the Japanese, Srikanth will be hoping to turn the tables on Momota when the two face off in the first round this week. With the top-ranked player coming off a marathon final loss to Viktor Axelsen at Odense last week, Srikanth will be sniffing his chances for an upset.
Sameer Verma, the only Indian men's singles player to reach the quarters in Denmark, starts off his campaign against sixth seed Jonatan Christie.
While both Srikanth and Sameer are in the top half of the draw, the bottom half sees as many as five Indians huddled together. HS Prannoy will face off against fourth seed Chou Tien Chen and Sourabh Verma will meet fifth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. Former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Parupalli Kashyap takes on home hope Brice Leverdez in the first round while Sai Praneeth and Lakshya Sen square off in an all-Indian opener.
In men's doubles, fifth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty face World No. 28 Lee Jhe-Huei and Po-Hsuan Yang. Manu Attri-Sumeeth Reddy and Dhruv Kapila-MR Arjun are the other two Indian pairs in men's doubles.
In women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy have their task cut out against top seeds Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan, having lost to the same opponents last week. Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S. Ram, meanwhile, lock horns with the Netherlands' Alyssa Tirtosentono and Imke Van Der Aar.
The mixed doubles section, too, hasn't been any kinder for the Indian teams. While MR Arjun-Maneesha K face the top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Dhruv Kapila-Sikki Reddy have fifth seeds Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying up first.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa can breathe a sigh of relief as they have a relatively easier opponent in the form of Denmark's Mathias Thyrri-Mai Surrow.
French Open Badminton 2021: TV schedule
The French Open Badminton 2021 will be live telecast on the Star Sports 3 TV channel from October 28 onwards in India.
French Open Badminton 2021: Live streaming details
The French Open Badminton 2021 can be live-streamed on the Disney+Hotstar app.