Indian shuttlers are set to feature in first round action of the All England Open at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, Wednesday. The main focus will lie on world number 2, Saina Nehwal, but other stars such as PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma, Ajay Jayaram, HS Prannoy and B. Sai Praneeth will be keen to come up with a great show and progress further in the competition.
Saina has been troubled with injuries of late, and the shuttler missed a number of tournaments as a result. But she is fit and raring to go and show her class in the All England Open, as it is one of the most prestigious competitions leading up to the Olympics.
Saina will face Canada's Michelle Li in the first round. The world number two should not face much trouble against the Canadian, who lost in their only head-to-head clash last year, during the French Open. Saina won the match in straight games.
Besides Saina, Sindhu is another big player from India. Sindhu is set to face Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. These two shuttlers are no strangers to one another, as they have faced seven times in the past. Sindhu enjoys a superior record against the Thai girl, who has defeated her twice and lost five times.
Sindhu is one of the most aggressive players in the circuit, but her lack of consistency has always been a concern. If Sindhu beats Porntip, the Indian shuttler could meet one of the favourites, Li Xuerui, in the second round of the All England Open.
In the men's singles, Srikanth is India's biggest hope. Srikanth will face Rajiv Ouseph, and the Srikanth should be a confident of beating the English shuttler, as the Indian has beaten his opponent on both occasions in the past. Apart from Srikanth, other men's shuttlers have tough first round matches, with Praneeth getting the toughest draw. Praneeth will face second seed Lee Chong Wei. Praneeth had to face Chong Wei after another Indian shuttler, Parupalli Kashyap, who was originally scheduled to meet the Malaysian, withdrew from the competition.
HS Prannoy, who can prove to be a huge threat on his day, faces Xue Song. Verma and Jayaram face Hu Yun and NG Ka Long Angus in the first round respectively.
Where to follow live
HS Prannoy vs Xue Song (11:20a.m GMT, 4:50 p.m IST)
Ajay Jayaram vs Ng Ka Long Angus (2:40 p.m GMT, 8:10 p.m IST)
Sameer Verma vs Hu Yun (3:40 p.m GMT, 9:10 p.m IST)
Kidambi Srikanth vs Rajiv Ouseph (4 p.m GMT, 9:30 p.m IST)
PV SIndhu vs Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (5:40 p.m GMT,11:10 p.m IST)
Saina Nehwal vs Michelle Li (7 p.m GMT, 12:30 a.m IST)
B. Sai Praneeth vs Lee Chong Wei (7:20 p.m GMT, 12:50 a.m IST)