2017 has been the year of Indian shuttlers, right from the start of the year, Indians have gradually asserted their dominance on the court with phenomenal performances in the singles events of both men and women categories. Kidambi Srikanth has been the standout performer for India with as many as four Superseries titles in the calendar year. The World number 2 participated in 3 competitions in as many months, excelling well in all of them but his body couldn’t take the entire toll. He had to pull out of the China Open 2017 at the last moment to recover from an injury. Srikanth who announced himself to the world by humbling Chinese legend Lin Dan at his own backyard in the same competition will be replaced by HS Prannoy at the helm of Indian men’s singles attack.
HS Prannoy will spearhead the attack for India in the men’s singles category, while PV Sindhu will take charge of the women’s contingent in China. A ten-member side has been shortlisted to represent India at the Premier event. India’s best bet will be on national champion Saina Nehwal and Olympic silver medallist Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. Saina will go into the tournament riding high on confidence after defeating Sindhu at the 82nd Senior Indian Nationals in Nagpur, similarly, Prannoy will also go into the competition on an optimistic note after earning a much-needed win against Srikanth at the National Championships.
The China Open Superseries Premier will be a difficult one for the Indian players who have been constantly playing badminton at the highest level this year. For Saina, the 2nd half of 2017 has been a fruitful one as she had clinched the Malaysian Masters’ tournament making a successful comeback from injury and has recently humbled Sindhu which will boost her game going into the China Open Superseries. Prannoy, on the other hand, played an intense battle in the semifinals of the French Open where he had to surrender against academy mate Srikanth in the third round.
Sourabh Verma will be the second men’s singles player from India in China after Parupali Kashyap withdrew his name from the tournament. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will take the court in men’s doubles category, N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will present the Indian challenge in women’s doubles. Ponnappa will also pair up with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the mixed doubles category.
HS Prannoy will clash against Korea’s Lee Dong Keun in the opener, while Sourabh Verma will open his account against French Brice Leverdez. In the women’s category, Sindhu will be up against Japanese Sayaka Sato, whereas Saina Nehwal will take on American Beiwen Zhang.
China Open 2017 is slated to being from November 14, 2017.