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China Open 2023: Indian shuttlers seek success in build-up to Asian Games

Fresh from winning his maiden World Championships medal, H.S. Prannoy will spearhead India’s campaign alongside Lakshya Sen, who will strive to regain top form before the Asian Games, at the China Open Super 1000 Tournament, beginning here on Tuesday.

There will be no Indian in the women’s singles as star shuttler P.V. Sindhu pulled out in a last-minute decision to focus on the Asian Games.

Sindhu, who clinched a silver at the last Asiad, was pitted against Korea’s Kim Ga Eun.

Prannoy had a dream run at the Worlds last month where he stunned World No. 1 and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen en route to his bronze medal.

Prannoy, who achieved his career-high world ranking of No. 6 on the back of the World Championships show, will open his campaign against Ng Tze Yong of Malaysia.

Should he overcome the opening round, Prannoy could potentially face World No. 4 and third-seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand in the round of 16, a competitor he is yet to defeat in their two previous face-offs.

Prannoy could potentially face World No. 9 Jonatan Christie from Indonesia in the quarterfinals, and if the Indian manages to advance further he will set the stage for a rematch against top-seeded Axelsen in the semifinals.

Commonwealth Games champion and former world championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, however, could not repeat his 2021 show and had a disappointing outing in Copenhagen last month, going down to Vitidsarn in the round of 16.

Lakshya will look to test his skills against the best as he starts off against Anders Antonsen of Denmark.

Lakshya, on the other hand, has a tougher path, with the possibility of facing seventh seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the round of 16 and World No. 1 Axelsen in the quarterfinals.

Priyanshu Rajawat is the other Indian in men’s singles main draw as he takes on Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia in the opening round.

In the men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will look to get over the disappointment of their quarterfinals exit at the World Championships, with an improved show here.

The Indian duo is seeded second and open its campaign against Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana of Indonesia.

M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will take on Japanese duo of Keichiro Matsui and Yoshinori Takeuchi.

All eyes will also be on the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand as they face top-seeded Chinese pair of Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan.

The Indians will face the Chinese duo less than two weeks after they went down to them in the World Championships.

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