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India Open: At the India Open, title contenders include PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen

At the India Open Super 750 on Tuesday in New Delhi, PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen, two of the best shuttlers in the country, will be title contenders in at least three of the five events. This includes PV Sindhu, who has won two Olympic medals, and Lakshya Sen, who is the reigning champion.

With as many as three players — Sindhu (7), Sen (10), HS Prannoy (8) in the top 10 in singles and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in the top 10 in men’s doubles—Indian badminton has never been so strong. 5: All of them started the season with a lot of success from last year.

Sindhu and Satwik-Chirag, who are seeded fifth and seventh, are the defending champions in the USD 900,000 event. 13 Kidambi Srikanth was also a champion in the past.

However, the upgraded version of India’s flagship event will pit all of the world’s biggest badminton stars against one another, some in the opening round itself, so previous results won’t matter much.

After last week’s reversal in the first round in Kuala Lumpur, Sen, and Prannoy, two of the most prominent Indian men’s singles players in 2022, will engage in yet another slugfest in the opening round. The younger of the two will be hoping to repay the favor this time.

At the Malaysia Open, Sindhu’s return from a lengthy injury layoff was derailed by her long-time rival Carolina Marin of Spain, who is also on a comeback trail after suffering two ACL injuries to both of her knees in the past few years.

Sindhu will face Thailand’s Supanida Katethong in the first round this week. Having lost to her in the previous edition, Sindhu will be hoping to find her sharpness in attack and strength in defense to avoid a setback.

The former world champion, who has been out of action since the August Commonwealth Games because of a heel injury, is likely to face Olympic champion Chen Yufei of China in the quarterfinals.

After reaching the Super 1000 semifinals last week, Satwik and Chirag will go into their men’s doubles match against Denmark’s Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede, who is ranked No. 31 worldwide.

In a potential quarterfinal matchup with Japan’s top seeds, Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, the Indian duo will likely face a real challenge.

However, no one faces a more difficult challenge than the former world No. 1 Srikanth, who will face Viktor Axelsen, the defending Olympic champion and two-time world champion, who extended his record-breaking winning streak on Sunday by retaining the Malaysia title.

Saina Nehwal, a bronze medalist at the London Olympics and a former winner of the India Open, will begin her campaign against Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark. She is fervently hoping for a strong run to boost her confidence after another injury-plagued 2022.

Against Thailand’s No. 1 opponent, young guns Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap will have a tough time. 11 Busanan Ongbamrungphan and No. 11 in the world 24 Beiwen Zhang of the United States in the first round of their debut at the Super 750 level.

Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun, two Indians, won’t play because of injuries, but Krishna Prasad G and Vishnuvardhan Goud P, who play against Ruben Jille and Ties Van Der Lecq of the Netherlands, will hope for a good start.

In the first round of the women’s doubles competition, All England semifinalists and bronze medalists from the Commonwealth Games Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela will play France’s Margot Lambert and Anne Tran, while Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam will play Malaysia’s Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan, who is seeded eighth.

Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro, India’s sole entry in mixed doubles, will compete against Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek of the Netherlands.

After winning the title in Malaysia, international stars Axelsen, who has only lost three matches in 2022, and Akane Yamaguchi, who is from Japan and has won four titles in 2022, including the All England, World Championships, and World Tour Finals, will be the favorites for the crown.

The next generation of shuttlers—Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, Japan’s new sensation Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, Loh Kean Yew, a former world champion, and Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand—will also be closely watched.

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