Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian badminton star PV Sindhu's projected path to the final

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

Badminton has been one of the most reliable sports in delivering India medals at the Olympics in recent times. While Saina Nehwal clinched a bronze in London, PV Sindhu went one better to secure the silver in Rio.

Five years later, Sindhu's search continues for the gold she missed by a whisker in the last edition. The shuttle queen will be the only one to represent India in the women's singles at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and the entire nation will be waiting with bated breath as she embarks on her gold hunt.

On that note, let's take a look at PV Sindhu's projected path to the final in Tokyo.

PV Sindhu in group stages

The sixth-seeded PV Sindhu has been placed in Group J alongside Hong Kong's World No. 34 Cheung Ngan Yi and Israel's 58th-ranked Ksenia Polikarpova. The World No. 7 will need to play each of the other players in her group once.

The world champion kicks off her campaign with a face-off against Polikarpova on July 25 while her match against Yi is scheduled for July 28.

Yamaguchi challenge awaits PV Sindhu in the quarters

Akane Yamaguchi will pose a tough challenge for PV Sindhu
Akane Yamaguchi will pose a tough challenge for PV Sindhu

The top finishers in each group will progress to the knockouts, where the challenge gets tougher.

PV Sindhu is expected to face World No. 12 Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the Round of 16. The Indian holds a 4-1 edge over the Dane in their head-to-head record with their most recent meeting going in favor of Sindhu at the Swiss Open earlier this year.

With the Indian likely to make it through to the last eight without much of a hassle, it is the quarterfinals where things get interesting. A stern test awaits the Indian in the form of former World No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi.

The Rio Olympic silver medalist leads the Japanese 11-7 in their head-to-head record but the latter's fighting spirit and tenacity have always put Sindhu in a spot of bother. Sindhu has lost three of her last four meetings to the World No. 5 although she managed to snap her losing streak in their most recent showdown at the All England Open this year.

But with the Olympics being held in Tokyo, the former Japan Open champion might be a tough nut to crack on home soil.

If Sindhu does manage to overcome the Yamaguchi hurdle, she will have to contend with the likes of World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying or World No. 6 Ratchanok Intanon in the semis. Both players will be eager to give their all as a win in the semis guarantees a prestigious Olympic medal for their respective countries.

With a 13-5 edge over Sindhu, Tai Tzu Ying has forever proved to be a thorn for the Indian. However, one of Sindhu's five wins over Tai came at the Rio Olympics and the Indian will be keen to draw inspiration from that performance should the two meet.

With her finesse and variety, Ratchanok Intanon too has caused problems for Sindhu throughout their careers as evident from her 6-4 lead in their head-to-head record. In fact, the Thai has emerged victorious in their last two meetings, both of which took place in January this year.

That said, PV Sindhu is a big match player and always reserves her best for the most elite tournaments. The 26-year-old will set her sights on giving the best and navigate through a difficult draw to set up a possible gold medal clash with top seed Chen Yufei.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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