Indonesia Open 2019: PV Sindhu aims to end season's title drought; Kidambi Srikanth hopes to test form and fitness
Indian badminton ace PV Sindhu has not won a medal since capturing gold at the World Tour Finals last December.
PV Sindhu has not won a medal since capturing gold at the World Tour Finals last December
Sindhu will open her campaign against Japan's Aya Ohori on Wednesday
World No 9 Kidambi Srikanth will play his first match against Japan's Kenta Nishimoto
Jakarta: Rejuvenated after a month's break, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu will look to produce the goods and break this season's title drought when she spearheads the Indian campaign at the USD 1,250,000 Indonesia Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 beginning on Tuesday.
A title has eluded Sindhu ever since she stood on the podium with the gold medal at the World Tour Finals last December.
Sindhu has not looked her usual self as she failed to reach a single final so far this season and has made it to only two semi-finals in six tournaments.
The fifth seeded Indian will have her first final of the season in sight when she opens against Japan's Aya Ohori on Wednesday. However, it will be easier said than done as another Japanese Nozomi Okuhara stands on her way to the quarterfinals.
"It has not been really great. I think I have to do much better. I have worked on mental as well as physical fitness. I have been working out on my skills a lot more," Sindhu had said recently.
Saina Nehwal, the only Indian to win a title this season at Malaysia Masters earlier in the year, has been suffering from multiple injuries and will not feature in the prestigious tournament.
In men's singles, world No 9 Kidambi Srikanth, who was sidelined by a knee injury ahead of the Sudirman Cup, will also look to test his form and fitness when he opens against Japan's Kenta Nishimoto.
Srikanth had reached the finals at India Open this season and he would look to put another good performance at a tournament, which he had won in 2017.
B Sai Praneeth, who has looked in good touch having reached the finals at Swiss Open, will be up against Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent, while HS Prannoy will face an imposing task of taming second seed China's Shi Yu Qi Wednesday.
Women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will meet Malaysian combo of Vivian Hoo and Yap Cheng Wen, while men's doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will take on Malaysian pair of Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin.
Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will face Netherlands' Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.
Indian shuttlers didn't set the stage on fire this season with just Saina winning a title and chief coach Pullela Gopichand blamed it on the number of injuries, and hoped they would do well in the second half of the year.
"It has been tough this season. The busy schedule and a few injuries to key players have taken a toll. But I am hopeful in the next three weeks, we will get some good results," Gopichand said.
"We had a change in the coaching system with new coaches coming in. The players had a good three weeks training, so we hope for some good results in the coming events, starting with Indonesia," he added.
The 33-year-old Bhagat, the current world No 1, secured a 21-11, 21-16 win over Japan's Daisuke Fujihara in the first SL3 class semi-finals that lasted 36 minutes.
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The 33-year-old Indian, who had contracted polio when he was four years old, showed great mental fortitude as he recovered from an eight-point deficit in the second game to come up trumps against his opponent.
Bhagat, who had qualified for the men's singles SL3 event on Thursday, and Kohli beat Thailand's Siripong Teamarrom and Nipada Saensupa 21-15 21-19 in a 29-minute clash to finish second in Group B.