Home favourites PV Sindhu and K. Srikanth along with Saina Nehwal on Tuesday promised to give their best in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Badminton saying that they were banking on their past record and current form.
The main round of the tournament gets underway in New Delhi from Wednesday. The annual $350,000 prize money tournament was first held in India in 2011
Olympic champion Carolina Marin threw in her hat insisting that she was keen on a sterling show to get ready for a challenging season ahead.
In the men’s section, top-ranked Kidambi Srikanth was eager to put behind his lean patch and bounce back.
All four will be in action on Wednesday when the main draw gets underway at the Siri Fort Complex.
Sindhu, who won the women’s singles crown last season and is the top seed in the tournament, is viewing the India Open as a fresh challenge.
“It’s important to stay fit and give my best. Each round is going to be tough so I will be taking one match at a time. Yes, I won last year but it’s a different year and I am just looking to give my best,” the World Championship silver medallist said.
Sindhu takes on Denmark’s Natalia Rohde and, barring any surprises, her real challenge will come in the form of former world champion Ratchnok Intanon in the semifinals.
Saina, who is in the bottom half of the draw, will face another Dane, Sofie Dahl in the opening round. “The Indian Open is a good opportunity for me to get back to winning ways. It is a competitive field but I have a good record in the tournament so I’m hopeful of a good show,” the fourth seed said
Asked about her unprecedented seven-match losing streak to the current World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying. She said “Not just me, she has beaten a lot of top players last year. That’s why she is World No. 1. In the top-10, any one can beat any one. It is not that she cannot be beaten,” Saina has managed to win just three games out of the 17 played in their last seven encounters.
Sindhu, loser to Tai Tzu Ying in all four clashes after beating her in 2016 Rio Olympics, opined “I think you could also mention that I beat her in the recent Premier Badminton League,” adding, “I know it was a different point format. We know she is playing very well. But I am working on ways to beat her. Let’s see.”
World number 3 Srikanth opens his campaign against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu . “I got injured in November and then I had to pull out of the China and Hong Kong Open. I then played in Dubai where things didn’t go my way and then I got injured again during the PBL,”
“I was never going to play the Malaysia Masters but had to miss Indonesia. But there are still a number of big tournaments, starting with the India Open and I am just looking forward to them,” he told media persons .
However with World No. 1 and defending champion Victor Axelsen withdrawing from the tournament e event at the last minute. things have become a lot easier for Kidambi Srikanth.
Among the other Indians World No. 10 HS Prannoy will face qualifier Shreyansh Jaiswal in his opening match while Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth will face Rajiv Ouseph of England.
Olympic champion Marin is chasing bigger goals this season. “I have played all big tournaments because I value these tournaments, and also, having turned out for three — the Malaysian, the Indonesian and the Indian Open — it also helps me prepare better for the All-England Championship,” the Spanish star, who meets Thailand’s Mattana Hemrachatanun in the first round, said.
Meanwhile Turkey International Junior Open champion Kartikeya Gulshan Kumar, Shreyansh Jaiswal, junior national champion Aakarshi Kashyap and Riya Mukherjee were among the four Indians who made it to the singles main draw after winning their qualifiers on Tuesday.