London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal is set to play against world no. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the first round of 2018 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open on Wednesday. Pusarla Venkata Sindhu will take on Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand in the opening round.
Former world no. 1 Saina Nehwal has a tough task ahead as she will be in action against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the very first round of HSBC world tour super 500 Hong Kong Open.
Akane Yamaguchi leads 6-2 in the head-to-head record against Saina Nehwal on the BWF circuit but Saina won the last match at the Denmark Open against her when she made a remarkable run to the final of the HSBC world tour 750 event. It will be the biggest challenge for the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist after she pulled out of the Fuzhou China Open.
Four-time world championship medallist Sindhu will be up against the entertaining player from Thailand, Nitchaon Jindapol, in the first round. Sindhu leads the head-to-head meetings with a 4-1 record against her opponent.
In men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth will lead the challenge along with Sameer Verma, H.S. Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap, and B. Sai Praneeth. Srikanth will play home favourite Wong Wing Ki Vincent and has a handsome lead of 7-3 against him in the head-to-head encounters. Parupalli Kashyap already qualified for the main draw after beating Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei in the qualifying round.
Sameer Verma will be in action against Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand while Prannoy will take on Anders Antonsen of Denmark. B. Sai Praneeth will be up against another player from Thailand, Khosit Phetpradab while Kashyap will play no. 7 seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikky Reddy will have a tough task ahead as they are going to play against the reigning Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan in women's doubles. Ashwini also progressed to the second round in mixed doubles along with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, after beating a pair from Chinese Taipei in the first round. They will now be in action against another pair from Chinese Taipei.
In men's doubles, Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will play Bodin Isara and Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand while Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty will play London Olympic silver medallists Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark.