After the star-studded Senior National Badminton Championships, Indian shuttlers are gearing up for the World Superseries Premier event in Fuzhou - China Open 2017.
World number two and in-form men's singles star Kidambi Srikanth, who won the Denmark and the French Open, has pulled out from the event with an injury. The Indian challenge thus will be lead by women's singles defending champion PV Sindhu, who has struggled to be consistent after her Korea Open win.
Meanwhile, reigning national champions HS Prannoy and Saina Nehwal (both ranked 11 in respective singles category) are looking to earn their berth in the season-ending Dubai Superseries Finals, in which top eight shuttlers from each category will participate.
Prannoy to face big tests
In-form Prannoy, who lost to Srikanth in the semi-final of French Open last month, will start his China Open campaign against qualifier Lee Dong Keun on Wednesday, November 15. He has an easy passage to the last-eight round of the tournament, in which he is likely to face either second seed Son Wan Ho or local hope Tian Houwei.
With reigning Olympic champion Chen Long and fourth seed Shi Yuqi drawn in the same half, Prannoy's task will become tougher if he manages to get past the quarter-final stage.
World number 57 Sourabh Verma will take on France's Brice Leverdez in the opening round on Wednesday.
Global live streaming: BWF YouTube channel
India: TV: Star Sports. Live streaming: Hotstar
Malaysia: TV: Astro Supersport. Live streaming: Astro Go
Singapore: TV: Star Hub. Live streaming: Starhub Go
Live scores can be followed on BWF's official website.
Sindhu, Saina handed tough draws
Sindhu begins her title defence against world number 13 Sayaka Sato of Japan. She is likely to meet her new-found rival and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara, against whom she has lost twice in the last four months.
Sindhu needs to find some momentum ahead of the season-ending Dubai Superseries Finals and a win against Okuhara will give the second seed a lot of confidence.
On the other hand, former champion Saina faces USA's Beiwen Zhang in the opener and is likely to face world number four Akane Yamaguchi as early as in the second round. A stiff test against world number three Sung Ji Hyun awaits the unseeded shuttler if she manages to get past the initial hurdles.
A look at doubles teams in Fuzhou
India's mixed doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj and Ashwini Ponappa made it to the main draw after winning their qualifying round on Tuesday, November 14. While the former will be teaming with Chirag Shetty in the men's doubles, the latter will combine with Sikki Reddy in the women's doubles category. Meanwhile, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy will also be India's representatives in the men's doubles category.
Schedule of key matches on Wednesday, November 15
- Saina vs Beiwen Zhang - 12:15pm local, 9:45am IST
- Sindhu vs Sayaka Sato - 9:15pm local, 6:45pm IST
- Sourabh vs Brice Leverdez - 3:15pm local, 12:45pm IST
- Prannoy vs Lee Dong Keun - 7:45pm local, 5:15pm IST