Having recovered from injuries, Saina Nehwal makes a return to international competition as PV Sindhu opts out of Thailand Open Super 500 tournament that begins in Bangkok, Thailand on July 30.
With a runner-up finish at the Indonesia Open and an appearance in the quarter-finals at the Japan Open a week later, Sindhu has had a hectic schedule this month and her decision to take rest and prepare for next month’s World Championships is indeed a judicious one.
The 2019 Indonesia Masters champion Nehwal will be seeded seventh at this tournament and begins the hunt for her second title of the season against a qualifier.
While Nehwal is the lone Indian in the women’s singles draw, there are as many as six shuttlers from the country in the men’s singles section.
For the fifth-seeded Kidambi Srikanth, who meets a qualifier, the challenge will be to re-discover his touch and strokes after struggling to do so in Jakarta and Tokyo. Srikanth did show flashes of brilliance on his way to the final of the India Open in March. However, the former World No. 1 hasn’t been able to replicate that form since then.
Syed Modi International champion Sameer Verma is the other Indian seeded at eighth and he will have to deal with World No. 17 Lee Zii Jia.
The resurgent Sai Praneeth, who made a splash last week at the Japan Open by reaching the semi-finals, has Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen in his opener but his path gets rockier for there awaits the World No. 1 Kento Momota, who begins his challenge against Subhankar Dey. Interestingly, it was the Japanese who halted Sai’s great run in Tokyo before going on to win the title himself.
HS Prannoy, who beat Srikanth in Japan, will seek better fortunes this week when he takes on Hong Kong veteran Wong Wing Ki Vincent. Prannoy could not build on his huge upset and have crashed out of the Japan Open in the second round.
Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap has a good chance to progress past Misha Zilberman of Israel