Kidambi Srikanth-Loh Kean Yew face-off on cards; PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen get easy draws at India Open
Comeback man Kidambi Srikanth might clash with Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in a rematch of their World Championships final after being drawn in the same half, while PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen received easy draws in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022 to be held from January 11 to 16.
Top seed Srikanth, who regained his place in world's top-10, will open his campaign against compatriot Siril Verma and is likely to get another chance to avenge his loss against World champion Loh Kean Yew as they are drawn to clash in the semifinals.
Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, seeded top, will hope to lay claim on her first title of the new year when she begins her campaign against compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli.
The26-year-old could face Russian fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the last-8 stage.
Fans would be hoping for the marquee all-India summit clash between Sindhu and the former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal, who has also received a relatively tough draw.
The London Olympics bronze medallist and fourth seed Nehwal, who endured a tough year plagued with multiple injuries, is likely to square off against seventh seed Iris Wang of USA in the quarter-finals and second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the semi-finals.
Organised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI), the USD 400,000 Super 500 event will kickstart the 2022 BWF World Tour season.
In-form Sen, who claimed a maiden bronze at the World Championships, will start his campaign against Adham Elgamal of Egypt and could face compatriot and World Championships quarter-finalist HS Prannoy in the quarterfinals.
Prannoy, who is making a comeback after battling post COVID after-affects, is set to kickstart his challenge against Spaniard Pablo Abian.
Second seed B Sai Praneeth, who also had a tough 2021, would also be looking to start the year on a high as he opens against Spain's Luis Penalver in the opening round. He could face Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the quarter-finals.
Sixth seed Sameer Verma, who had suffered a calf muscle injury in Denmark, will also look to go deep into the draw after starting his campaign against his elder brother Sourabh.
India's top men's pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, seeded second, will open against compatriot Ravi and Chirag Arora and are likely to meet fourth seeded pair of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy from England in the Last-4 stage.
In women's doubles, second seeded pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will have an easy route to the quarterfinals.
However, playing along with B Sumith Reddy, Ponnappa will face a tough challenge in the mixed doubles as they will be up against second seeded Russian duo of Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in their opening round match.
"It has been tough two years for all of us but we are very excited to host this tournament once again," BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said.
"Unfortunately, keeping players’ and other stakeholders’ safety as topmost priority, this mega event will be played without spectators. BAI will ensure execution of this tournament under strict COVID protocols."
The 11th edition of the prestigious tournament, which is making a return after a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be played at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.