New Delhi, April 4: Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and top seed Kidambi Srikanth have been handed relatively easier draws in the Badminton Asia Championships, to be held in Wuhan, China from April 24 to 29.
The Indian team, including Srikanth and Sindhu, is currently in Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games, which begins on Thursday (April 5) with the mixed team championship. According to the draw made in Jakarta on Tuesday (April 3), Sindhu faces Taiwanese Pai Yu Po in the first round, while Srikanth, who won four Superseries titles last year, will face Japan's Kenta Nishimoto in his campaign opener.
The 22-year-old from Hyderabad, who won the silver at the World Championship, might cross swords with China's Chen Xiaoxin in the second round. If Sindhu can clear the first two rounds, she is expected to lock horns with seventh seed Korea's Sung Ji Hyun.
The 25-year-old Srikanth, on the other hand, is likely to face Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent if he crosses the opening hurdle, while a quarterfinal clash with three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei is also expected to be on the cards. Chong Wei's participation was confirmed only on Tuesday and he will add spice to the tournament which will also see the participation of China's defending champion Chen Long and last year's runners-up Lin Dan.
World No. 12 HS Prannoy, who has a qualifier in his campaign opener, is likely to face Lin Dan early in the second round. The Indian had beaten the Chinese legend in 2014 French Open. Among others, B Sai Praneeth will take on Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon, while Sameer Verma, who won the Swiss Open last month, will square off against seventh seed and India Open finalist Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in his opener.
In the women's singles, Saina Nehwal, who faces a qualifier in the opening round, might meet world champion Japanese Nozomi Okuhara, who has been seeded fifth in the tournament, in a second-round contest.
Among others, upcoming men's doubles players Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok will seek to tame Korean combo of Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will look to topple Thailand's Bodin Isara and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet in the first round.
In the women's doubles, the combination of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram and Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP will be in fray for India. The mixed doubles pair of Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan will also look to create some upsets in the event.