India's Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will begin their 2018 seasons at the Indonesia Masters - BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, starting today, January 23 in Jakarta.
In the absence of India's top-ranked men's singles shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy (the two men pulled out, citing the need for extended rest), the onus to lead India's campaign will rest on the two superstar women's singles shuttlers.
Sindhu vs Saina quarter-final on cards
Sindhu, who is seeded as high as number two, has an easy opener against world number 33 Hanna Ramadini. The world number three is likely to take on seventh seed and former junior world champion Chen Yufei in the quarter-final of the tournament.
However, Sindhu could meet compatriot and world number 10 Saina in the last-eight round if the latter manages to beat Chen in her first-round match on Wednesday, January 24.
Notably, Saina, who is unseeded for the tournament, lost her only meeting against Chen at Hong Kong Open in November last year. The 19-year-old Chinese shuttler outclassed the veteran Indian star 18-21, 21-19, 21-10.
Meanwhile, reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara and Malaysia Masters runner-up Ratchanok Intanon are also drawn in the same half, which has Sindhu and Saina. The Indian shuttlers thus need to be at their best if they are to finish on the podium ahead of the much-anticipated India Open, starting January 30 in New Delhi.
World number one Tai Tzu Ying, who won the season-opening Malaysia Masters earlier this week, opens her campaign against Michelle Li of Canada and is likely to face third seed Carolina Marin in the semi-final.
Kashyap, Sameer in men's singles draw
On the other hand, India's Parupalli Kashyap, ranked 55, has earned a direct entry into the tournament and will now face Malaysia's Chong Wei Feng in the opening round. World number 30 Sameer Verma opens his campaign in Jakarta against higher-ranked Japanese shuttler Kazumasa Sakai.
|Men's singles||Women's singles|
|1 Viktor AXELSEN (Denmark)||1 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)|
|2 KIDAMBI Srikanth (India) - Withdrawn||2 PV Sindhu (India)|
|3 CHEN Long (China)||3 Carolina Marin (Spain)|
|4 SON Wan Ho (Korea)||4 Ratchanok intanon (Thailand)|
|5 LIN Dan (China)||5 Sung Ji Hyun (Korea)|
|6 CHOU Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei)||6 Nozomi Okuhara (Japan)|
|7 NG Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong)||7 Chen Yufei (China)|
|8 HS PRANNOY (India) - Withdrawn||8 He Bingjiao (China)|
TV Coverage and Live streaming
India: TV: No coverage: Live streaming: BWF YouTube channel
Malaysia: TV: Astro Arena: Live streaming: Astro Go
China: TV: CCTV 5+
Matches to watch out for on Wednesday, January 24
- Saina Nehwal vs Chen Yufei
- PV Sindhu vs Hanna Ramadini
- Sameer Verma vs Kazumasa Sakai
- Parupalli Kashyap vs Chong Wei Feng