The first major Super Series Premier competition of the year is here upon us as the All England Open Championship is set to take place Tuesday onwards, with the main draw matches, starting on Wednesday. India will have their eyes on two female superstars Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, who will be keen to shine in the All England Open.
Saina and Sindhu have been seeded sixth and eighth respectively in the All England Open, but the competition is only going to get tough for the two shuttlers. Saina, who has improved upon her fitness and also won the Malaysian Masters Grand Prix Gold earlier in the year, has a tough opening match against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.
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If Saina manages to beat the Japanese, she could meet a qualifier in the next round and then Sung Ji Hyun in the quarterfinals. However, it is much easier in the opening round for new queen of India badminton, Sindhu, who had an impressive 2016. Her real test will lie against top seed Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinals. She will meet Mette Poulsen in her first match.
Both Saina and Sindhu have it in them to defeat any top player in the world, but they need to maintain their focus and play quality badminton. If everything goes according to plan, one may see Saina vs Sindhu semifinal as well.
In the men's singles, three Indian shuttlers – HS Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram and Kidambi Srikanth -- will feature in the All England Open. None of them have been seeded in the championship, and it is going to be difficult for these players with the number of world-class shuttlers in the draw including Chen Long, Jan O Jorgensen, Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei.
Srikanth, who is India's best bet, will face a qualifier, while Jayaram and Prannoy will meet Huang Yuxiang and Qiao Bin respectively in the opening round. In the men's doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face a qualifier in the first round. Poorvisha S Ram and Jakkampudi Meghana will face Hsu Ya Ching and Wu Ti Jung in the women's doubles competition, while in the mixed doubles Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy will face a South Korean pair in the form of Kim Ha Na and Yeon Seong.
All England Open schedule
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PV Sindhu vs Mette Poulsen
Saina Nehwal vs Nozomi Okuhara
Kidambi Srikanth vs qualifier (TBD)
HS Prannoy vs Huang Yuxiang
Ajay Jayaram vs Qiao Bin
Attri/B Sumeeth vs qualifier (TBD)
Women's doubles competition
Poorvisha S Ram/Jakkampudi Meghana vs Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung
Pranaav Jerry Chopra/ Sikki Reddy vs Kim Ha Na/Yeon Seong
All the above-mentioned matches are the opening round contests, which will be played on Wednesday
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