Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who had made it to the competition’s semifinals last year, will South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun. Indonesian Masters champion Saina, on the other hand, will play against Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour in the first round.
Both Saina and Sindhu are fighting it out at the Senior National Championships. They will head straight to Birmingham from Guwahati for the prestigious tournament which will be starting from March 6.-- Advertisement --
Sindhu will need to be careful against Hyun, having lost against her at the 2018 Hong Kong Open. If she at all manages to get past Hyun, the 23-year-old shuttler will probably face third seed Chen Yufei in the quarterfinal.
Saina, who went as far as the final of All England in 2015, has made a good start to the year. She has managed to end as a semifinalist at the Malaysia Masters before winning the Indonesia Masters title.
However, the London Olympics bronze medallist will most probably face the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinals. Her record against the Chinese Taipei national is particularly poor, having lost her last 11 encounters against her. Nonetheless, Tai had an injury-marred season of her own.
The chances of proceeding deep in the competition for the Indian duo have been boosted manifolds after 3-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain was ruled out due to a knee injury she suffered in Indonesia. However, Sindhu had a different view about the topic:
Kidambi Srikanth to Leverdez
Elsewhere, in men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth, will play against Brice Leverdez of France in the opening round. The Indian No. 1 missed the ongoing Senior Nationals owing to a minor ankle issue.
He will probably meet the current World No. 1 Kento Momota in the quarterfinals.
The 7th-seeded Indian had lost to Momota on five occasions last season.
World Tour semifinalist Sameer Verma will make a start to his campaign against the former World No. 1 Dane Viktor Axelsen.
H.S. Prannoy and B. Sai Praneeth will take on one another in the opening round. The winner will likely take on Anthony Ginting of Indonesia.