After the shock exit of Saina Nehwal from the China Open 2016 in the opening round, all eyes will be on PV Sindhu to deliver the goods in the competition. Sindhu will be in action as the India shuttler takes on Beiwen Zhang in the second round of the China Open on Thursday. Other male shuttlers such as HS Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram will also be involved in their respective matches.
Sindhu, after a disappointing performance in Denmark and the French Open following her stupendous show in the Rio Olympics, will be eager to shine and progress further in the China Open. The India shuttler did not look in much trouble against the Chia Hsin in the first round, where she clinched the match in straight games.
As the competition moves ahead, matches are going to be tough and Sindhu has to constantly strive for improvements. There is no doubt about the quality of the player and her skills on the court, but opponents come with their homework done well with videos of top players easily available, so her second round opponent Zhang will come prepared.
Zhang comes into this second round clash with straight games victory over Ya Ching, but the shuttler is aware that Sindhu is a different player altogether. Zhang has been in the badminton circuit for some time, but she has not been able to perform on a consistent basis.
Sindhu and Zhang have met twice in the circuit in 2011, and the India shuttler has emerged victorious on both the counts. It was not a cakewalk in both the matches as the game was stretched to three games. But that is five years back. Sindhu has improved by leaps and bounds since those days. Sindhu is favourite to reach the next round of the China Open, but she cannot take it easy.
In the men's arena, India may not have big names, with Kidambi Srikanth deciding to skip the competition. Prannoy and Jayaram will look to reach the next round as they prepare to face Bin Qiao and Wei Nan respectively.
Both the players, if they play as per their normal standards, should progress, but they will have to be consistent. Tougher matches lie ahead for the males singles players if they move into the third round of the China Open.
Where to watch live
China Open 2016 is scheduled to start at 1 pm local time (10:30 am IST). Here are the Tv and live streaming options.
India: TV: Star Sports4/HD. Live streaming: Hotstar.
International viewers can also click here for live streaming