After what was a blockbuster World Championships last month in Glasgow, badminton action shifts to Korea for the Victor Korea Open, starting Tuesday, September 12 in Seoul.
A lot of focus will be on PV Sindhu, who won the Silver at the world meet after an epic battle with Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the gold medal match.
Tough draw for Sindhu
The Indian shuttler starts as the fifth seed and will take on Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi in the opening round on Wednesday, September 13. Sindhu faces a tricky test in the opening round despite her strong head-to-head record [4-0] over the Hong Kong shuttler.
For daily schedule, click here.
Sindhu was pushed to the limits by Cheung in her third-round encounter at the World Championships last month. The world number four came back from behind to take the tightly-contested match 19-21, 23-21, 21-17 against the lower-ranked Hong Kong shuttler in an hour and 27 minutes.
The Indian shuttler would not want another long battle as early as in the first round, given her possible opponents in the later stages.
Sindhu could face world number one and top seed Tai Tzu Ying in the quarter-final. Notably, the Hyderabad girl has not been able to beat the Taiwanese superstar in their last three meetings, including twice this year.
Tai, who has a 7-3 advantage over Sindhu, will also look to hit peak form after missing the World Championships campaign last month.
How to watch matches live on TV, online
India: TV: Star Sports 2. Live streaming: Hotstar
Malaysia: TV: Astro Supersport. Live streaming: Astro Go
Singapore: TV: Star Hub. Live streaming: Starhub Go
China: TV: CCTV 5+
Worldwide live streaming: BWF YouTube channel [Not available in India]
Live scores for all matches can be followed on BWF's official website.
Saina, Srikanth skip tournament
Meanwhile, there is added pressure on Sindhu as two of India's brightest hopes Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth have pulled out from the Superseries tournament, owing to minor injuries.
"They are only minor injuries but will take little time to heal. We thought it would be better to skip Korea but they will be back in Japan," Gopichand said, as quoted by the Times of India.
Can Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy impress?
In Srikanth's absence, India's men's singles campaign will be lead by Singapore Superseries winner Sai Praneeth. The world number 17 would be eager to put behind the disappointment of an early exit at the World Championships and get back to winning ways in Korea.
Praneeth, who plays his first match in Korea against Hu Yun, has a good chance of making the semi-final as two big names -- Srikanth and second seed Lee Chong Wei (withdrawal) -- will not be in action in his half.
HS Prannoy, who was unlucky to have missed out on a Glasgow berth despite being in fine form, can spring a few surprises. The US Open Grand Prix Gold tournament will open his campaign against sixth seed Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong.
Verma brothers -- Sourabh and Sameer -- have been drawn in the top half of the draw and they will look to make an impact in Seoul.
Doubles teams face tough tests
Men's doubles pairing of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy take on qualifiers in the first-round. Meanwhile, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy will open campaign against eighth seeds Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.
Sikki will also feature in the Mixed doubles action as she teams up with Pranaav Jerry Chopra. The duo is in for a tough opener against fourth seeds Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto of Indonesia.
|Men's singles||Women's singles|
|1. Son Wan Ho (Kor)||1. Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe)|
|2. Lee Chong Wei (Mas) - withdrew||2. Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn)|
|3. Viktor Axelsen (Den)||3. Sung Ji Hyun (Kor)|
|4. Chou Tien Chen (Tpe)||4. Carolina Marin (Esp)|
|5. Kidambi Srikanth (Ind) - withdrew||5. PV Sindhu (Ind)|
|6. Ng Ka Long (Hkg)||6. He Bingjiao (Chn)|
|7. Tzu Wei Wang (Tpe)||7. Ratchanok Intanon (Tha)|
|8. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha)||8. Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn)|