All England Open 2018: Saina Nehwal up against nemesis Tai Tzu Ying, PV Sindhu faces lighter test in first round
Nehwal, who had reached the final at the 2015 All England Championship, and lost to the Taiwanese World No 1 Tai at the Indonesia Open last month, will get a chance to avenge her loss and better her dismal head-to-head record.
Birmingham: Saina Nehwal faces her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying in the first round while PV Sindhu has got an easy opener against Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong after the Indian shuttlers were handed a tricky draw at the $1,000,000 All England Championship next month.
World No 11 Nehwal, who had reached the final at the 2015 All England Championship, and lost to the Taiwanese World No 1 Tai at the Indonesia Open last month, will get a chance to avenge her loss and better her dismal head-to-head record against the defending champion.
Sindhu is expected to cross the first hurdle without much of a problem and in that case, she may get a chance to settle scores with American Beiwen Zhang Zhang in a likely second round clash.
Zhang had defeated Sindhu at the India Open final.
In the men's section, World No 3 Kidambi Srikanth, also seeded third, had a rampaging run last season when he won four titles and he would face Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the opening round of the BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament slated for 14-18 March.
However, B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy will face tougher opponents in the opening round in men's singles.
Singapore Open champion Praneeth will square off against former World No 1 South Korean Son Wan Ho, while World No 11 Prannoy, who is still recovering from the foot infection that saw him struggle at the India Open, will clash with eighth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, who had finished runners-up twice at the India Open.
In the doubles events, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who had reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open, will face Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan, while India Open semi-finalists Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will take on Germany's Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler in the opening round.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will meet England pair of Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, while Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki will have to fight it out against second seeded Japanese combo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.
Rising women's doubles pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram will face fifth seeded Japanese pair of Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto.
Sindhu is one of the favourites for the gold, especially in the absence of defending champion Carolina Marin, who missed the Games due to an injury.
Sindhu added she used the break to learn more and focus on her technique and skills.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: PV Sindhu has improved on her defence, worked on motion skills, says India coach Park Tae-sang
Park also addded that Tai Tzu-ying would be Sindhu's biggest rival at the Olympics.