Indonesia Open 2020: Sindhu and Saina likely to clash in the second round
2019 didn't prove to be a great year for Indian badminton except for when Pusarla Venkata Sindhu won India's first-ever World Championship gold. But India's badminton players might be looking forward to starting 2020 on a strong note as this is an Olympic year, in Tokyo in August.
Indonesia Masters 2020, a world tour Super 500 event, will be played between January 14 and January 19 in Jakarta. PV Sindhu, seeded fifth, is the only Indian to be seeded at the tournament. Sindhu will start her campaign against Aya Ohori of Japan.
Defending champion Saina Nehwal will also open her campaign against a Japanese player in Sayaka Takahashi. The two Indian stars have been drawn to face each other in the second round if they both cross their respective first-round hurdles.
Saina Nehwal is expected to put up a good show in Jakarta this year as well. As Saina has made eight finals in Jakarta, in her decade long international career, winning four of them. Both the Indians can take relief from the fact that their arch-rival Tai Tzu Ying has opted not to play in this tournament.
In Men's Singles, the biggest hope for India will 2019 World Championship's bronze medalist B Sai Praneeth. But he will be facing Chinese eighth seed Shi Yu Qi in the opening round. Kidambi Srikanth will open his campaign against Indonesian Shesar Hiren Rhustavito whereas Parupalli Kashyap will play against seventh seed Jonathan Christie of Indonesia in the first round. Two other Indians who are in the fray to win the coveted trophy will be Sameer Verma and HS Prannoy.
In Men's Doubles, the best hope for India will be the combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. They will open their campaign against the current world champion Indonesian duo Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. But the Indian combination can take heart from the fact that they have won the last meetings against this Indonesian duo.
In Women's Doubles, the Indian duo of Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy will be facing world number 13th Japenese duo of Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida. They are likely to clash with Chinese world number one duo of Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yifan in the second round.
In Mixed Doubles, India's hopes are on Pranav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, who will start their campaign against a qualifier, whereas the other Indian duo of Ashwini Ponnapa and N Sikki Reddy will be facing the Irish brother-sister duo of Sam Magee and Chloe Magee in the first round.