Sindhu and Sai Praneeth should top their group but its a tough draw for the Chirag-Satwik pair, says Vimal Kumar

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

The much anticipated draw of the badminton event of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is finally out. Vimal Kumar has predicted smooth sailing for both PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth in the group stages.

However, former national coach Vimal Kumar has termed the draw tough for men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Renkireddy.

According to Vimal Kumar, both Sindhu and Sai Praneeth should top their respective groups and prepare for the tougher battles ahead. Vimal Kumar was of the opinion that group ties will help both Sindhu and Sai Praneeth to boost their confidence.

“Both Sindhu and Sai are comfortably placed in their respective groups. I don’t think Sindhu will have much of an issue with her group matches. The Hong Kong girl is capable of giving her a good fight. I think these group matches will help Sindhu immensely and give her the much needed match practice before the actual battles begin in knock-outs,” said Vimal Kumar.

Sixth-seeded Sindhu is placed in Group J along with Cheung Ngan Yi, the current World No. 34 and World No. 58, Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel. Vimal Kumar said Rio Olympic silver medallist Sindhu is expected to sail past both opponents before moving onto the knock-out stages.

If Sindhu tops Group J, she is likely to meet World No. 12 Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark. Should she win, a potential quarter-final clash can take place against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

Sai Praneeth has chance to win both his group matches: Vimal Kumar

Vimal Kumar believes Sai Praneeth can win both his group matches but is likely to face resistance from Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands.

“Sai can expect a good fight from Mark Caljouw, the top Dutch player and current All England semi finalists. Sai too should top his group. The group stage matches will help him to get used to the conditions and help towards playing the big guys,” said Vimal Kumar.
B Sai Praneeth
B Sai Praneeth

The thirteenth-seeded Sai Praneeth is in Group D with Mark Caljouw of Netherlands, World No. 29 and Misha Zilberman of Israel, World No. 47.

The knockouts will be a big challenge for Sai Praneeth. The Hyderabadi is likely to face World No. 9 Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong China, in the round of 16. Japan’s Kento Momota is likely to be his opponent in the quarters.

The men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will have to give their best if they want to make the cut for the knockouts. The World No. 10 pair is clubbed in Group A with the World No. 1 Indonesian duo of Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon.

They also have the Chinese pair of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin and the British combination of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy to fight against.

“Men’s doubles duo of Chirag and Satwik are in a tough group. Both Chinese Taipei and English combinations are tough and tricky opponents. Of course it has the top combination from Indonesia Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon,” said Vimal Kumar.

Unlike Vimal Kumar, Sumeeth Reddy is optimistic about Chirag and Satwik's chances

However, former Indian doubles team star Sumeeth Reddy is optimistic about Chirag and Satwik’s chances. Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri had represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics in badminton.

“It’s obviously a group with good players. But I would like to think that it will be tough for the rest of the three pairs to have Chirag and Satwik in their group. Mental strength will play a key role,” said Sumeeth Reddy.

On the prospect of finishing in the group in the top two, Sumeeth said:

“Yes anything can happen at the Olympics.”

The men’s doubles Group A consists of World No. 1 Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia) and World No. 3 pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei. It also has World No. 18 duo Ben Lane and Sean Vendy of England.


Women’s singles

Group J: 1. 6-PV Sindhu (India)

2. Cheung Ngan Yi (Hong Kong China)

3. Ksenia Polikarpova (Israel)

Men’s singles

Group D: 1. 13-B Sai Praneeth (India)

2. Mark Caljouw (Netherlands)

3. Misha Zilberman (Israel)

Men’s doubles

Group A: 1. 1-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia)

2. Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei)

3. Ben Lane/Sean Vendy (England)

4. Chirag Shetty/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (India).

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Edited by Diptanil