Indonesia Open 2019: Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth get tough draw
Indonesia open is one-third of the BWF world tour super 1000 circuit ( the other two being the All England Open and China Open). It will be held between 16 July and 21 July in Jakarta, Indonesia.
From India, only three players have been seeded. The best hope for India in this tournament, PV Sindhu, has been seeded five, whereas Saina and Srikanth have both been seeded eight in their respective categories.
Sindhu last won gold in a tournament more than six months back when she won the BWF world tour finals in December 2018. Since then, she has been struggling as she is losing tamely against not only the top 10 players, but also against players who are ranked lower than her.
In the first round, she will face the Japanese Aya Ohori. If she gets past the first two rounds, she could probably meet another Japanese, Nozomi Okuhara, in the quarterfinals. Her head-to-head record against Okuhara stands at 7-7. But, the last time both these players met, Okuhara defeated Sindhu easily by a score of 21-7, 21-11. If Sindhu wants to win this title, then she has to come extremely prepared as the presence of players like Tai Tzu-ying and the in-form Chen Yufei of China can really give her a hard time.
On the other hand, Saina will be facing Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand in the first round. In the second round, she could probably meet world no. 9 Sung Ji Hyun of Korea. Saina leads in the head-to -head against Sung Ji Hyun by 8-3. But Sung had defeated Saina in a tough, three-set battle in their last encounter in the China Open in 2018.
Saina herself has mentioned in the past that the Indonesia open is her favorite tournament. As we all know, Saina has made it to eight finals in the Jakarta stadium, winning four of them. But her on-and-off form this season is a worrying sign and thus she in not one of the favorites to claim the title this time.
All eyes on Srikanth
In the men's singles, there will be four contenders from India. India's hopes for the gold medal in men's singles rely heavily on Kidambi Srikanth. Ranked nine in the world, Kidambi will be facing world No. 11, Kenta Nishimoto, in the first round. The head-to-head record between these players stands at 4-1 in favor of Kidambi.
Last year's best performer in men's singles from India, Sameer Verma, will be starting off his campaign against the 34th ranked Hong Kong player Lee Cheuk Yiu.
B Sai Praneeth has a tough task to handle in the very first round itself as he will be facing world No. 3 Viktor Axelsen. On the other hand, world-No.-26 HS Prannoy will face world No. 2, Chinese Shi Yu Qi in the first round.
In Men's doubles, the world-No.-20 young Indian duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankyreddy will be facing 36th ranked Malaysian duo of Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin. The Indians have not lost to this duo in their three previous encounters.
In women's doubles, world-No.-22 Indian pair of Ashwini Ponnapa and N Sikki Reddy will be facing the world No.-20 Malaysian pair of Vivian Hoo and Yap Cheng Wen.
In mixed doubles, the 25th ranked pair of the world, Satwiksairaj Rankyreddy and Ashwini Ponnapa, will be facing the 40th ranked Indonesian duo of Tontowi Ahmed and Winny Oktavina Kandow in the first round.
The other Indian duo in mixed doubles, of N Sikki Reddy and Pranav Jerry Chopra, will be facing the Dut duo, Selena Piek and Robin Tabeling.