If the reigning World Champion PV Sindhu has to end India’s extremely long dry spell in All England Open, she would have to do it the hard way. She faces a tough draw at the 2020 edition of badminton’s most prestigious open event.
Sindhu is slated to start her tournament by facing USA’s Beiwen Zhang in the first round. Though not a very fancied player at the moment, and also not very successful of late, Zhang was the one who had defeated the Indian badminton queen on her home turf in the final of 2018 India Open.
If she manages to get through Zhang, Sindhu’s next challenger will be either Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand or South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun. While the Thai player has been a middling player for the longest time, Sung is a former world no. 1 and could be very effective on her day. It could be a tough outing for the World Champion.
In the quarter-final, unless there is an upset, Sindhu would be up against the lady she defeated in the World Championship final Nozomi Okuhara. The Japanese girl is seeded fourth, which shows her better track record since the Championships last year. This is likely to be a very tough match for the 24-year old.
The semis are always going to be tough for any player. If Sindhu manages to reach the last four, she could face the top seed Chen Yufei, most likely scenario, or Ratchanok Intanon, seeded fifth. It clearly would require the sort of performance we haven’t seen from her in the past in this event to make her way into the final.
Also Checkout: All England Open 2020 Schedule
Saina Nehwal's thorn-ridden path
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal is going to have to go through an even tougher draw, mainly because of her lack of form. She starts her tournament against one of the favourites – Akane Yamaguchi. If she wins, it would be a minor upset.
The second round for Saina, if she is there, would be easier as her opponent is going to be the winner of the match between Sayaka Takahashi and Evgeniya Kosetskaya. But, the third round is likely to bring an even bigger challenge in the form of Carolina Marin.
Clearly, Saina would benefit from an upset early on that knocks Marin out. In this scenario, she could get into the semis by just defeating Yamaguchi, though that itself is a tough proposition. Then again, one can never leave all hope.
Published 29 Feb 2020, 07:43 IST