Malaysia Open: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth Shoulder India’s Hopes as Saina Nehwal Returns After Illness
Malaysia Open: Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu will be leading the Indian contingent in Kuala Lumpur as Saina Nehwal returns to action after recovering from acute gastroenteritis.
PV Sindhu is yet to win a BWF title this season. (Photo Credit: BAI)
India’s hopes will once again rest on the shoulders of Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu as the Malaysian Open begins on Tuesday. For India, there are three men’s singles players, two women’s singles players and one pair each in men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Srikanth and Sindhu will be in the spotlight after the two made it to the final and semi-finals of India Open 2019, respectively.
There will be high expectations from Srikanth after he reached his first final last week since French Open 2017 and looked a few notches above his performances in 2018.
However, as it was evident in the India Open final against Denmark’s No.1 Viktor Axelsen, Srikanth has a lot of catching up to do with the best men’s singles players on the circuit.
First and foremost, Srikanth will have to start matches better.
Kidambi Srikanth would look to go one better than his performance at India Open 2019.
On the other hand, hopes have always been pinned on Sindhu since her Olympic silver. Sindhu lost to He Bingjiao in the semi-final in New Delhi last week, despite being in a winning position.
While Sindhu’s game has seen improvement in terms of her strokeplay and variety in her range of shots, she has to strengthen her mental resolve and cut down on unforced errors.
Even as Sindhu had reached the final of the India Open, the number of unforced errors committed by her throughout the week were worrisome.
Saina Nehwal is making her return to action after recovering from acute gastroenteritis that she suffered during the All England Open last month.
She played with the problem in Birmingham but had to withdraw from the Swiss Open and India Open in order to recover.
She will now be looking to pick up from where she left and continue the kind of form she has shown this year.
HS Prannoy will also want to draw from the positives of the India Open and take it to Malaysia. Prannoy lost in the quarter-finals to eventual winner Axelsen but the good news for him was that after months, he faced no trouble while playing on the court.
Since last year, Prannoy has been dealing with a gut issue that has hampered his performance on the court. From breathing issues to feeling full and hungry at the same time, Prannoy has had a troublesome year.
At India Open, Prannoy played some excellent badminton without any trouble and he would take that confidence to Kuala Lumpur.
Sameer Verma had a solid last year and even though he has not started on the best of notes this year, he would want to make Malaysia his stepping stone.
INDIA IN DOUBLES
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has not fully recovered from his shoulder injury and has pulled out of the tournament. That means even Chirag Shetty, his men’s doubles partner, will also miss the action.
For a good performance in doubles, India will look at Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy (men’s doubles), Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy (women’s doubles) and Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N Sikki Reddy (mixed doubles)
Manu-Sumeeth had reached the semi-finals of the India Open and would want to put up another good show in Malaysia.
Despite the decline in the middle, Manu-Sumeeth have picked up their performance since last year and would only want to get better.
Similarly, Ashwini-Sikki also beat a Chinese scratch pair in New Delhi last week and would look to draw some confidence from the way they played against the Chinese pair and eventual winners, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahuyu.
For Pranaav and Sikki, they would want to return to their best. Pranaav and Sikki returned to the circuit after the former recovered from the injury he suffered last year but are yet to get back to their best.
Ashwini-Sikki and Manu-Sumeeth said at the sidelines of India Open that their new Indonesian coach has introduced a lot of fitness drills and is also working on the little details in their game. The doubles pairs would want the results to come out soon.
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