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Yonex-Sunrise India Open: Sindhu, Lakshya to lead Indian challenge against top shutters

The tournament, which has been upgraded to the BWF World Tour Super 750 status from this year, will see almost all the top-10 world ranked players across the 5 categories compete for glory for a total prize purse of $850,000.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Defending champion, Lakshya Sen and double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu will spearhead the 19-member strong home challenge in a very tough field, which include among others, Tokyo Olympics gold medalists Viktor Axelsen ( Denmark), China’s Chen Yufei and reigning women’s singles world champion, Akane Yamaguchi of Japan at as the ‘bigger than ever’ edition of the Yonex Sunrise India Open, which commences  at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from Tuesday.

The six-day long tournament, which has been upgraded to the BWF World Tour Super 750 status from this year, will see almost all the top-10 world ranked players across the five categories compete for glory  for a total prize purse of $850,000.

The Yonex Sunrise India Open was classified as a Super series and then a Super 500 event on the BWF calendar since it moved to New Delhi in 2011. It was upgraded to the Super 750 level in the new tournament cycle that begins in 2023.

The first Super 750 event of the year has attracted a total of 242 players from 22 countries with badminton powerhouse China sending the largest contingent of 30 players (15 men, 15 Women) Japan has entered the second biggest squad of 29 (14 men and 15 women), followed by Indonesia and Malaysia.

India’s hopes rest on a 19-member contingent led by PV Sindhu, World No. 8, HS Prannoy, World No 10 Lakshya Sen, World Championship Silver Medalist and World No 13, Kidambi Srikanth as well as Commonwealth Games Gold medalist and Fifth seed men’s doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.

“India Open has been a very special tournament for all the Indian players. Last time we had to play behind closed doors. But this time the India Open is going to be bigger than ever and all of us are determined to make it all the more special for all our fans,” said  the double Olympic medalist and 2019 Tournament champion, PV Sindhu.

Lakshya Sen, who opens his campaign against compatriot HS Prannoy, said ,’Last year was my first appearance at the India Open and I was very happy that I could win the tournament in my very first attempt. The India Open is now a Super 750 event and as defending champion I am looking forward to play my best and try and defend my title.”

Former champion, Kidambi Srikanth would face Axelsen, third seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore will take on last week’s Malaysia Open Super 1000 finalist Kodai Naraoka of Japan in the men’s singles opening round.

The first round match of Women’s Singles will pit former world champions, Carolina Marin of Spain and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will begin their campaigns against Thailand’s Supanida Katethong and Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark. The two former champions can face-off at the quarterfinals stage if they both win their first 2 rounds.

Promising youngsters, Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap faced Thailand’s world No. 11 Busanan Ongbamrungphan and world No. 24 Beiwen Zhang of the US respectively in the Opening Round of what will be their first appearance at the Super 750 level.

India’s hopes in the paired events will once again depend on the world no.5 combination of Satwiksairaj and Shetty, who are also the defending champions. The French Open winners will face Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede of Denmark in the opening round.

In Women’s Doubles, All England semi-finalists and Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela will face France’s Margot Lambert and Anne Tran in the opening round. Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam will open against the Eighth seeds Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia.

India’s  entry in mixed doubles, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro will  take on the Netherlands’ Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.

“The India Open has become a very important tournament in the BWF calendar and the Super 750 status it has received this year shows, how much the players and fans love this event. The BAI has done all it can to make this an unforgettable experience for players and fans and I am sure the level of badminton this week will mesmerize all,” said BAI secretary general Sanjay Mishra.