January 25, 2022

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

India Open 2022: Srikanth could meet Kean Yew in repeat of WC 2021 final

New Delhi : Fresh from their clash in the World Championship final, newly-crowned champion Loh Kean Yew and silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth are likely to meet again in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022, scheduled from January 11-16 here.

Two-time Olympics medallist PV Sindhu and 2021 World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen have received a relatively easy passage in the initial rounds of the USD 400,000 prize money Super 500 event, which will kickstart the 2022 BWF World Tour season.

Top seed Srikanth, who recently entered Top-10 in the world rankings, and Singapore’s Kean Yew have been drawn in the same half and are likely to clash against each other in the possible’men’s singles semi-final showdown.

In the lower half, the in-form Sen will start his campaign against Adham Elgamal of Egypt and could face compatriot and World Championships quarter-finalist HS Prannoy in the last-eight stage. Prannoy is set to kickstart his challenge against Spaniard Pablo Abian,according to the draw for the event organised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).

Second seed B Sai Praneeth would also be looking to start the year on a high as he will take on Span’s Luis Penalver in the opening round and could face I’donesia’s Tommy Sugiarto in the quarter-finals.

The 11th edition of the prestigious tournament, which is making a return after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be played at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.

“It has been tough two years for all of us but we are very excited to host this tournament once again. 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,” BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said in a release on Thursday.

In the women’s singles, top seed Sindhu will begin her march towards her first title of the new year against compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli and could face Russian fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the last-eight stage.

Indian badminton fans would be hoping for the marquee all-Indian summit clash between Sindhu and the former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal, who has received a relatively tough draw.

The London Olympics bronze medallist and fourth seed Saina 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.

India’s top pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who have been seeded second in the men’s doubles draw and will start their campaign against compatriots Ravi and Chirag Arora, are likely to meet the fourth-seed pair of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy from England in the semi-finals.

In the women’s doubles, the second-seeded pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will have an easy route to the quarter-finals. However, playing along with B Sumith Reddy, Ponappa will face a tough challenge in the mixed doubles as the duo will be up against second seeded Russian pair of Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in their opening round match.

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