PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead the Indian challenge at the Indonesian Masters, which will get underway in Bali on Tuesday. The week-long BWF World Tour Super 750 badminton tournament will see several top Indian players competing against the best.
Sindhu and other Indian shuttlers heaved a big sigh of relief when the organizers lifted the mandatory 15-day quarantine rule.
Several Indian shuttlers were in a spot of bother earlier. The Indonesian government had stressed a two-week quarantine period was compulsory for those traveling to Bali from India.
However, after efforts by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) the organizers removed the rule, paving the way for the Indian players’ participation.
2019 finalist Sindhu to aim for much-needed title in Bali
Third seed Sindhu will continue her pursuit of a podium finish in Bali after missing the title a couple of years ago.
Sindhu, a bronze medallist in the Tokyo Olympics, has good memories of Indonesia as she had reached the finals in Jakarta in 2019. The tall Hyderabadi shuttler will look to make a solid start when she faces Thailand’s Supanida Katethong in the first round on Tuesday.
Sindhu is expected to roll over to Supanida Katethong, ranked 33 in the world. It will be Sindhu’s first meeting with a 24-year-old left-handed Thai girl.
World No. 7 Sindhu is likely to meet Spain’s Clara Azurmendi and Canada’s sixth seed Michelle Li in the next two rounds. If she manages to clear the early hurdles, Sindhu is likely to clash against top seeded Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the semi-finals.
After her historic second medal at the Olympics in August, Sindhu has done reasonably well. But she would definitely like to finish on top this time around. With no Chinese players in the tournament, reigning world champion Sindhu has a chance to make it count.
Sindhu reached the quarter-finals and semifinals in Denmark and France before skipping the Hylo Open in Germany a couple of weeks ago.
Tough opener for Lakshya Sen against world No. 10 Japanese opponent
Lakshya Sen will lock horns with Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama in his opening round. 20-year-old Lakshya will have to give his best to get the better of world No. 10 Kanta Tsuneyama.
Lakshya recently broke into the top-20 in the world rankings. He will be facing 25-year-old Japanese for the first time on the international circuit.
World No. 19 Lakshya has looked in good touch in his last few outings. The in-form Indian player has lost a close semis in the Hylo Open. The Almora youngster will look to continue the good run.
Kidambi Srikanth too would like to extend his outstanding run in Bali after reaching the semis in the previous tournament in Germany. Srikanth seemed close to regaining his form with a couple of sensational wins in the last few tournaments.
Former world No. 1 Srikanth will meet Christo Popov after Sameer Verma pulled out due to injury.
B Sai Praneeth, who represented India in the Tokyo Olympics, will be making a comeback after a short break. World Championship bronze medallist Sai Praneeth will take on Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito on Wednesday.
HS Prannoy will face Daren Liew, while Parupalli Kashyap will square off against Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.
Sixth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will meet Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in the first round.
Another Indian men’s doubles pair MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will cross swords with the Japanese combination of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will face Denmark’s Alexandra Boje and Mette Poulsen.
Ashwini Ponnappa has been paired up with B Sumeeth Reddy, while Sikki Reddy will partner with Dhruv Kapila in the mixed doubles.
India's players in action on Tuesday
Lakshya Sen vs Kanta Tsuneyama (Japan)
3-PV Sindhu vs Supanida Katethong (Thailand)
6-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Malaysia)
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Ashwini Ponnappa - N Sikki Reddy vs Alexandra Boje-Mette Poulsen (Denmark).