Reigning world champion PV Sindhu has got an easy passage to the quarterfinals, but Saina Nehwal was not as fortunate, drawing a tougher first-round opponent in the prestigious All England Championships. The tournament is scheduled to be played in Birmingham from March 17-21. The 2021 All England Open will be the second tournament this year, to offer ranking points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, after the Swiss Open. According to the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu will kick off her campaign in the women’s singles with a clash against Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah.
Provided she wins her initial rounds, Sindhu could face Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals, and arch-rival Carolina Marin in the semifinals.
Marin has been given top billing for the tournament, while Sindhu is seeded 5th.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina has drawn the in-form Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in her first-round women’s singles match.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap has also got a tough draw, as he faces off against World No. 1 Japanese Kento Momota in his opener.
In other men’s singles matches, Kidambi Srikanth is set to face the formidable Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the opening round, while world championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth will take on France’s Toma Junior Popov.
The Indian shuttlers are scheduled to play in the Swiss Open, which starts from March 3, before the All England championships.
Saina and Srikanth will have more time to make the Tokyo Olympics with the BWF extending the qualification period.
All England Open 2021 draw for Indian players:
PV Sindhu vs Soniia Cheah (Malaysia)
Saina Nehwal vs Mia Blichfeldt (Denmark)
Kidambi Srikanth vs Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia)
Parupalli Kashyap vs Kento Momota (Japan)
Lakshya Sen vs Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Thailand)
HS Prannoy vs Liew Daren (Malaysia)
Sameer Verma vs Ygor Coelho (Brazil)
B Sai Praneeth vs Toma Junior Popov (France)
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty vs Eloi Adam/Julien Maio (France)
MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila vs Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (Malaysia)
Ashwini Ponnappa/ N Sikki Reddy vs Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Thailand)
Meghana Jakkampudi/Poorvisha Ram vs Alexandre Boje/Mette Poulsen (Denmark)
Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam vs Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith (England)
Dhruv Kapila/Meghana Jakkampudi vs Praveen Jordan/Melati Oktavianti (Indonesia)
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Ashwini Ponnappa vs Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo (Japan)
Pranaav Jerry Chopra/ N Sikki Reddy vs Max Flynn/Jessica Pugh (England).
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