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Hyderabad Open 2018: Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth lead Indian challenge

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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414   //    04 Sep 2018, 23:43 IST

Thomas & Uber Cup - Day 1
Sameer Verma

Sameer Verma and B Sai Praneeth will lead the Indian challenge at the inaugural edition of the Hyderabad Open 2018, that got under way on Tuesday. While Verma is the top seed, Sai Praneeth is the second seed in the men's singles draw that is dominated by Indian shuttlers at this Super 100 tournament.

The 21st ranked Sameer leads as many as 34 Indians in the main draw of the 64-player field. Sameer could have a quarter-final showdown with fifth seed Sourabh, his elder brother. Third seed Misha Zilberman or sixth seed Panji Ahmad Maulana or 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt could be his semi-final opponent.

In the other half of the draw, Sai Praneeth could run into Lakshya Sen or eighth seed Heo Kwang Hee in the last-eight stage. Fourth seed Parupalli Kashyap or seventh seed Firman Abdul Kholik or the in-form Ajay Jayaram could meet Sai a round later.

The women’s singles draw too is packed with rising Indian stars, who are keen to make a mark on the international stage. Getting to win a title in front of the home crowd is all the motivation they need to make a good impression.

In the 32-player field, 17 are Indians, out of which the ones to look out for are the fifth seed Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli, the seventh seed Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, qualifier Aakarshi Kashap and the unseeded Rituparna Das.

Indonesia’s World No. 45 Dinar Dyah Ayustine is the top seed and she starts her campaign against India’s Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka. Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky of Indonesia is the second seed and she begins her challenge against Rasika Raje.

In men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lead the table and Arjun MR-Shlok Ramchandran are the second seeds. The young pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Dhruv Kapila won their maiden BWF title at Kharkiv last week and would be looking to build on that performance.

The pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram are the second seeds in women’s doubles while Aparna Balan-Sruthi KP and the duo of Harika Veludurthi-Karishma Wadkar are seeded seventh and eighth respectively.

In mixed doubles, all eyes will be on the numero uno Indian pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, who are the top seeds. They will be aiming for a good show at this tournament in order to boost their confidence ahead of the elite international events beginning next week.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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