PV Sindhu and other Indian shuttles seek to win start of 2023 season

Indian commuters will be aiming for a victorious start to the BWF World Tour 2023 season with the Malaysian Open, which has been upgraded from the BWF Super 750 to Super 1000 category, begins here at Axiata Arena on Tuesday.

Indian badminton players will join star commuters from around the world including world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia and Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, Korea’s An Se Young in the Super 1000 tournament.

PV Sindhu, who is returning after a long injury break, will face a stern test in the first-round match as she takes on Olympic champion Rio Carolina Marin of Spain.

The Indian shuttle ace was last seen in action at the Commonwealth Games in August 2022, where she suffered a stress fracture in her left ankle. As a result, she withdrew from last year’s World Championships and World Tour Finals.

The Spaniard, who beat Sindhu in the Rio 2016 Olympics final, leads 9-5 in the head-to-head record over her Indian counterpart. Their last meeting dates back to 2021 in the Swiss Open final where Marin emerged victorious in consecutive matches.

Saina Nehwal, Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap will also be aiming for a strong start to the year in Kuala Lumpur in the women’s singles category.

Nehwal will face unseeded Chinese Han Yue, Aakarshi will face Hsu Wen-Chi of Taipei while Malvika will face a tougher opponent in the form of second seed An Se Young of South Korea in the first round.

In men’s singles, India’s top players – Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy – will battle it out for a spot in the pre-quarter-finals. 2021 World Championship silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth, ranked 13th in the world, will face Japanese commuter, Kenta Nishimoto.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, two world championship bronze medalists, will lead the Indian men’s doubles challenge and face the Korean duo of Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho.

If the star Indian duo prevail in the early rounds, they will contest a potential quarter-final clash with Olympic bronze medalists Tokyo and Malaysian world champion duo of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.

Another men’s doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala will face the Korean combination of Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae in their first-round clash.

In women’s doubles, 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will face Hong Kong’s Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam while Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam will face Thailand’s Supissara Paewsampran and Putita Supajirakul in the first round.

India team:

Simple messieurs : HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth

Simple ladies : PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap

Double Messieurs : Chirag Shetty / Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Krishna Prasad Garaga / Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala

Double ladies : Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand, Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam,

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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