Defending champion Sindhu, in-form Prannoy eye good show in Singapore

Singapore: Defending champion PV Sindhu will look to bounce back after hitting a low at Thailand but in-form HS Prannoy will be brimming with confidence as the duo spearheads Indian challenge at the Singapore Open Super 750 tournament starting here on Tuesday.

Things have not been the same for Sindhu since she suffered that ankle injury in August last year. She is slowly getting back to her best with a final and semi-final finish at Madrid Spain Masters and Malaysia Masters respectively being her best result this season.

However, a first-round exit at Thailand Open following a narrow loss to Canada’s Michell Li is not the right way to approach a tournament, which remains her last BWF world tour title.

And to make matters worse, Sindhu will be facing Japan’s world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi, an opponent against whom the Indian had some of the toughest battles of her career.

On paper, Sindhu enjoys a 14-9 head-to-head win ratio against Yamaguchi but a lot has changed since the two faced off in Thailand last year and the Indian will really will have to dig deep into her reserves to come up trumps this time.

Prannoy, on the other hand, is coming into the tournament after ending a six-year title drought, claiming his maiden BWF crown at the Malaysia Masters.

The moral-boosting win must have fired up the hunger for Prannoy, India’s most consistent singles player at the moment. However, things won’t be any easier for him as he opens against one of the most exciting talents in the circuit — Japan’s third seed Kodai Naraoka.

After a semifinal finish at Thailand — his first this season, Lakshya Sen too will be hoping to get deep into the draw but standing on the way will be ‘Mr consistent’ Chou Tien Chen, seeded fifth from Chinese Taipei.

Kidambi Srikanth, a 2021 world championships silver medallist, will meet Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen in his opening round, while Orleans Masters winner Priyanshu Rajawat will face Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama.

In women’s singles, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will square off against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, an opponent the Indian had a lot of success in the past. But injuries and age have had a toll on Saina and she hasn’t gone past the former Thai world champion in the last two occasions.

In men’s doubles, world number 4 Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who had won the French Open Super 750 last year, will open against Japan’s Akira Koga and Taichi Saito, while MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will be pitted against France duo of Lucas Corvee and Ronan Labar.

Women’s doubles combination of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will face Hong Kong’s Yeung Nga Ting and yeung Pui Lam in the opening round.

The Super 750 event are a rung below the top-grade Super 1000 events in global body’s yearly calender.