In-form Praneeth eyes Indonesia title
On a roll with successive title wins, shuttler B Sai Praneeth will look to continue his rampaging form when he leads the Indian challenge at the USD 1,000,000 Indonesia Super Series Premier which begins with the qualifier, here on Monday.
The 24-year-old Indian clinched the Singapore Super Series in April before lifting the Thailand Grand Prix Gold crown last week. He will now hope for another good week when he opens his campaign against second seeded Korean Son Wan Ho.
Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will also look to continue her good form but three-time former champion, Saina Nehwal will face a tough task as she faces Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon in the opening round.
Sindhu had clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold and India Super Series this season before crashing out of the Malaysia Open in the opening round and making quarterfinal exits at Singapore and Asian Championship.
The 21-year-old, who achieved a career-best world no. 2 ranking early this year, will face Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong and the Indian will look for a consistent run in the tournament.
Saina, on the other hand, has been struggling with her fitness and form and slipped out of the world top 10 for the first time in last seven years last week. The Indian will need to bring her top game to stay alive in the event.
Among others in men's singles, Ajay Jayaram will face Indonesia's Jonatan Christie, while Singapore Open finalist Kidambi Srikanth meets Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent and Sameer Verma will take on fourth seed Dane Jan O Jorgensen.
The run-up to the tournament was marred by visa hassles with some of the Indian shuttlers being on the verge of missing the event as their passports were with the Canadian Embassy.
H S Prannoy, who was one of the Indian shuttlers whose passport arrived just in the nick of time, will play in the qualifiers against Malaysia Zulfadli Zulkiffli.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face Chinese Taipei's Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han in men's doubles, while Sumeeth will pair up with Ashwini Ponnappa in mixed doubles event.
World no. 15 Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will also feature in the mixed doubles event, taking on a qualifier. While Sikki and Ashwini will compete in women's doubles as well.