Sindhu to spearhead Indian challenge in Japan Open

Tokyo, Sep 16 (IANS) In the absence of Saina Nehwal, World No.10 shuttler P.V. Sindhu will lead India's charge at the $200,000 Japan Open Super Series badminton that starts here Tuesday.

The World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu, seeded eighth, faces two qualifiers in the first two rounds and should ease through to the quarter-finals where she will most likely face World No.1 and Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Though the Hyderabadi has beaten the Chinese top seed in the past, Xerui is a force to reckon with each time she steps on to the court.

Mumbai's Tanvi Lad, ranked No.77 in the world, will be the only other Indian participating in women's singles and she has a first round encounter against Japanese World No.20 Sayaka Takahashi.

The Indian men's singles competitors, however, have been given a tough draw.

World No.13 Parupalli Kashyap will be up against the agile Sho Sasaki of Japan. Though the Hyderabadi has lost both his matches yet against the World No.22, the Japanese will have a tough outing against the gritty Indian.

If Kashyap succeeds in beating Sasaki for the first time, he will have an even a tougher challenge in second seed Chen Long of China in the second round.

World No.20 R.M.V. Gurusaidutt also faces a difficult opener against a higher ranked Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.

Upcoming talent B. Sai Praneeth will take on eighth seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong while Sourabh Verma will relatively have an easier first round as he will face a qualifier.

Mumbai's Ajay Jayaram will be taking on Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in Round 1. If he manages to win the tie, he will be up against Thailand's fourth seed Boonsak Ponsana in the pre-quarters.

The combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Akshay Dewalkar and B. Sumeet Reddy-Manu Attri will be taking forward the Indian challenge in men's doubles.

There will be no Indian representation in women's and mixed doubles in the tournament.

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