The Orleans Masters 2021 kicked off with Ajay Jayaram, Mithun Manjunath and Kiran George notching wins to sail into the next round of the BWF Super 100 tournament. The Orleans Masters 2021 is only the second tournament, after the 2021 Swiss Open, on the BWF calendar that will be considered a Tokyo Olympics qualifying event.
For Olympic-aspiring top Indian shuttlers like Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, the Orleans Masters 2021 will play a crucial role. Both players will be hungry to claim precious ranking points from the ongoing French tournament.
While the top seeds have received a bye in the first round, players like Ajay Jayaram, Mithun Manjunath and Kiran George did not have too much trouble proceeding to the next round. Manjunath defeated Frenchman Lucas Claerbout (21-14, 21-10), Jayaram side-stepped Alap Mishra (19-21, 23-21, 21-16) and an inspired Kiran George overcame Mark Caljouw (13-21, 21-18, 22-20). Only Subhankar Dey failed to move ahead, succumbing to Ditlev Jaeger Holm in straight games, 21-17, 21-13.
Top-seed Kidambi Srikanth to open his campaign at Orleans Masters 2021
All eyes will be on top-seed Kidambi Srikanth as he opens his Orleans Masters 2021 campaign today. After crashing out in the first round of the All England Open 2021 against Ireland's Nhat Nguyen, Srikanth will have to sharpen his game coming into Orleans. The former World No.1 will begin his title bid by taking on fellow Indian Ajay Jayaram in his opening match.
Fifth-seed Parupalli Kashyap, who also had a dismal outing in Birmingham, will be aspiring to put up a strong performance as he opens his campaign against Frenchman Toma Junior Popov. Meanwhile, in yet another all-Indian clash, HS Prannoy, seeded seventh, will be locking horns with Kiran George in the Round 2 encounter.
Mithun Manjunath will be playing Kai Schaefer, while B.M Rahul Bharadwaj will be taking on Ditlev Jaeger Holm in the other matches of the day. Finally, Chirag Sen will be going up against Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo.
Saina Nehwal will look to make an impact at Orleans Masters 2021
Having to retire mid-match at the All England Open 2021 against Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt, Saina Nehwal is looking to make amends at the Orleans Masters 2021. The former World No.1, who is seeded fourth at Orleans, is planning to shift things to the next gear as she takes on young Irish challenger Rachael Darragh in her opening round match. Nehwal, who had injury concerns at Birmingham, is pressed for time, with the window for Olympic qualification (June 15) drawing closer. Therefore, she must redeem herself at Orleans.
Other than Saina Nehwal, there is Ira Sharma, who has also qualified for the main draw of the Orleans Masters 2021, after having received a walkover in the previous round. The young Indian shuttler is set to lock horns with French player Leonice Huet in her Round 1 match.
Here's the schedule of matches on Day 2 of Orleans Masters 2021
Men's Singles - Round 2
Kidambi Srikanth  v Ajay Jayaram
Parupalli Kashyap  v Toma Junior Popov
HS Prannoy  v Kiran George
Mithun Manjunath v Kai Schaefer
B.M Rahul Bharadwaj v Ditlev Jaeger Holm
Chirag Sen v Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo
Women's Singles - Round 1
Saina Nehwal  v Rachael Darragh
Ira Sharma v Leonice Huet
Men's Doubles - Round 1
MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila  v Matthew Clare/Ethan Van Leeuwen
Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala v Abiyyu Fauzan Majid/Habib Alfariz
Women's Doubles - Round 1
Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy  v Amalie Magelund/Freja Ravn
Anto Agna/Ashna Roy v Yulfira Barkah/Febby Valencia Dwijayanti Gani
Mixed Doubles - Round 1
Pranaav Jerry Chopra/N Sikki Reddy v Dominik Stipsits/Serena Au Yeong
Dhruv Kapila/Ashwini Ponnappa v Iliyan Stoynov/Hristomira Popovska