P. V. Sindhu will look to quickly recover from her first-round exit at Indonesia, while HS Prannoy will eye another consistent show as the duo spearhead the Indian challenge at the Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament starting here on Tuesday.
Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, was shown the door in the opening round by China’s He Bing Jiao at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 earlier this month and she will have to put behind that defeat when she begins her campaign against a formidable Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand.
While Sindhu enjoys a 5-3 head-to-head count against Chochuwong, the Indian has lost to the Thai world number 10 three times in their last five meetings, making their clash a mouth-watering prospect.
If she can cross the opening hurdle and hit a consistent run, Sindhu might come across Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal also stars in the same half of the draw and will open against USA’s Iris Wang. A win will put her face-to-face with Japanese sixth seed Nozomi Okuhara, a former world champion.
Saina had skipped the Indonesia leg to manage workload and will look to put up a good show against Wang, whom she had defeated in three games the only time they met last year at Orleans Masters.
In men’s singles, Prannoy has been on a consistent run with a series of quarterfinals since the world championships last year. He played a pivotal role in India’s epic Thomas Cup win and then dished out some superlative performances in Jakarta to reach the semifinals.
The 29-year-old was crestfallen after a series of unforced errors led to his ouster from Indonesia.
Prannoy, who is desperate to end his five year title drought, will be pitted against Malaysian veteran Daren Liew, who had defeated him at the Thailand Open in May this year.
Among others, Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth will be up against sixth seeded Indonesian Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, while Sameer Verma takes on another Indonesian Jonata Christie, seeded seventh.
Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap, also returning after recovering from an injury, will meet Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee in the opening round.
World number 8 pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will also be back in action after skipping the last two events due to fitness issues. The duo will open Malaysia’s Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee.
In mixed doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy, who are part of India’s Commonwealth Games squad, will take on the Netherland’s Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.
Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan will square off against Korea’s Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun.