Lakshya Sen will look to continue his sterling form as he begins his quest for the title at the Scottish Open, scheduled to be held in Glasgow from today. Sen has received the top seeding at the International Challenge tournament and starts off his campaign against Austria's World No. 98 Luka Wraber.
Canada's sixth seed Brian Yang could be his quarter-final opponent while he is likely to face either third seed Pablo Abian or eighth seed Nhat Nguyen in the last-four stage. Second seed and World No. 55 Toby Penty could also pose a stiff challenge to the 41st-ranked Indian in the summit clash.
Considering the fabulous win streak that Sen has built over the past few weeks, the 18-year-old looks primed to win yet another title. The Prakash Padukone protege, who reached the final of the Polish Open in March, has been honing his skills in Denmark under the tutelage of former World No. 1 Morten Frost for the last couple of months.
The results have been fantastic as the teen won three consecutive tournaments - the Belgian International, the Dutch Open and the SaarLorLux Open. While the first was an International Challenge-level tournament, the last two were Super 100 events, which further shows Sen's maturity and ability to fight with the top stars. The series of victories also pushed the rising star to a career-high World No. 41 ranking, where he is perched currently.
His 15-match win streak, however, did come to an end at the Irish Open last week, but that could be attributed to fatigue as the youngster had been playing a lot of tournaments on the bounce. The former junior Asian champion will most definitely look to erase that setback and get back to winning ways at the Emirates Arena tonight when he takes on Luka Wraber.
In the absence of India's biggest shuttlers, who are vying for the title at the Korea Masters this week, the Scottish Open will see a lot of India's promising talent getting much-needed match play as they look to climb into the higher echelons of the badminton world.
Sen's transition from the junior circuit to the senior has been outstanding and he should be a source of inspiration for his compatriots who are also a part of the draw at the Glasgow tournament this week.
21-year-old Mithun Manjunath and 19-year-old B.M. Rahul Bharadwaj are the other two Indians in the main draw of men's singles after they were promoted from qualifying. Manjunath made it to a few pre-quarter-finals this year but this time he will need to show a lot of courage as he is up against the second seed Toby Penty in his first match.
Bharadwaj, on the other hand, will fancy his chances of making a deep run as he kicks off proceedings against a qualifier. He won a couple of titles at the International Series and Future Series levels this year and also reached the quarter-finals of the Dutch Open, losing to eventual champion Lakshya Sen. It was indeed a huge boost for the young shuttler and he would hope to repeat that feat at the Scottish Open.
Kiran George is another Indian who will contest for a main draw spot in the qualifying rounds today. George reached the semi-finals of the SaarLorLux Open and went down to Sen in a nail-biting three-game contest. The Indian would certainly aim for another chance to prove his mettle.
The women's singles section has a solitary Indian in the draw - Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli. Currently ranked 106th, the young Indian was placed as high as No. 58 last year and will look to get a few wins under her belt in the hope of breaking into the top 100 once again.
Kudaravalli, whose best performance this year on the international circuit has been a runner-up finish at the Cote d'Ivoire International in July, faces the 64th-ranked Line Christophersen in the first round.
With a few tournaments going on this week, the Indian action is limited to only the singles section at the Scottish Open and there is no doubles team in any of the three categories.
Here are all the details you need to know about the Scottish Open:
Tournament: Scottish Open 2019
Category: International Challenge
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Venue: Emirates Arena
Schedule: Kiran George vs Jacob Nilsson at approx 5:30 pm IST on 21st November
(1) Lakshya Sen vs Luka Wraber not before 11 pm IST on 21st November
B. M. Rahul Bharadwaj vs Qualifier not before 3 am IST on 22nd November
Mithun Manjunath vs (2) Toby Penty not before 3 am IST on 22nd November.