Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman Tokyo Olympics Badminton singles preview: Prediction, ranking, when and where to watch (IST)

Sai Praneeth (Image courtesy: Sai Praneeth Twitter)
Sai Praneeth (Image courtesy: Sai Praneeth Twitter)

All eyes will be on 2019 World Championships bronze medalist Sai Praneeth as he kicks off India's singles challenge in badminton against Israel's Misha Zilberman in Group D at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. The Pullela Gopichand protégé qualified for his maiden Olympics by dint of his world ranking, which is currently 15th.

The former Singapore Open winner has forever been a perennial underachiever. But this is Sai's time to shine. He is the only player to represent India in men's singles this time around and will hope to make the country proud.

Back in 2019, the 28-year-old ended Indian men's 36-year medal drought at the World Championships when he clinched the bronze medal. Sai will look to draw inspiration from that performance as he embarks on a medal-winning quest.

The former World No. 10 reached the quarterfinals of the Swiss Open in March before stretching eventual runner-up Viktor Axelsen to three games at the All England Open.

Sai will need to replicate those efforts if he is to create history and bring home India's first-ever men's singles medal in badminton.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian badminton star Sai Praneeth's projected path to the final

When and where to watch

Fixture: (13) Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman

Date: 24 July 2021

Time: 1 pm local time, 9.30 am IST

Round: Group D match

Live telecast: Doordarshan, Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD, Sony Ten 4, Sony Ten 4 HD, Sony Six, Sony Six HD

Live streaming: Sony Liv

Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman head-to-head

Sai Praneeth and Misha Zilberman have crossed swords three times with the Indian holding a flawless 3-0 record in their head-to-head. Sai won all three matches without dropping a game.

The last time the two faced off was at the Swiss Open earlier this year, where Sai emerged a 21-11, 21-14 winner.

Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman ranking

While Sai Praneeth is ranked 15th in the world, Zilberman is placed at the 47th spot.

Sai Praneeth vs Misha Zilberman prediction

Sai Praneeth
Sai Praneeth

Former Maccabiah Games gold medalist Misha Zilberman will be playing his third Olympics at Tokyo. He has already created history for Israel by becoming the first shuttler from his country to play at the mega quadrennial Games. In 2016 he went a step further when he secured Israel's first-ever Olympic win in badminton.

However, the 32-year-old has never made it to the top tier in men's singles badminton. With a highest ranking of 39th, Zilberman hasn't made much of an impact in the biggest tournaments.

Zilberman's best performance this season remains a quarter-final appearance at the Spain Masters. He could give Sai Praneeth a fight but the Indian is the overwhelming favorite to come through this contest having never lost to the Israeli in three previous meetings.

Prediction: Sai Praneeth to win in straight games

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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