Indonesia Masters: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal likely to lock horns in 2nd round

Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are likely to square off in the 2nd round of the Indonesia Masters Super 500 game started here on Tuesday. World Champion Sindhu and title-holder Saina looked impressive in the season-opening Malaysia Masters before their campaign ended in the quarterfinals with straight game losses and the duo will need to step up if they want to put up an inspiring show this week.

While Sindhu will hope to find her rhythm quickly after a 16-21 16-21 loss to her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, competing champion Saina too will have to quickly get over the bitter 8-21 7-21 defeat to 3 time former world champion Carolina Marin of Spain. 5th seed Sindhu will open against Japan’s Aya Ohori, whom she beat last week in the 2nd round, while Saina faces another Japanese Sayaka Takahashi in her opening match.

Both the Indian shuttlers are expected to overcome their respective 1st round opponents and cross swords in what would be their 5th encounter at the international stage. PV Sindhu, considered a revered opponent in world badminton, has a 1-3 record against Nehwal, who always had the upper hand over her younger compatriot.

All the 4 matches between the duos have ended in straight matches. While Sindhu has beaten Nehwal a few times in the PBL, she has inexplicably suffered a meltdown against her senior opponent at the international stage, where her last loss was at 2018 Commonwealth Games final.

Kidambi Srikanth, who exited in the 1st round of Malaysia Masters, will start his campaign against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. World Championships bronze medallist Praneeth, who too failed to cross the opening hurdle at Malaysia, will face eighth-seeded Chinese Shi Yu Qi.

Parupalli Kashyap and H S Prannoy, who had become the victims of the world no 1 Japanese Kento Momota a week ago in the 1st and 2nd rounds respectively, will open against local stars Jonatan Christie and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting respectively. Sameer Verma had lost in the 2nd round after a hard-fought battle against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia last week game.

Women’s pair of N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will meet Japanese combination of Chiharu Shida and Nami Matsuyama, while Satwik and Ashwini will pair up taking with Sam Magee of Ireland and Chloe Magee in mixed doubles.