Seoul: In the absence of World No.1 Saina Nehwal, the focus will be on other top Indian shuttlers P.V. Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap when the $600,000 Korea Open Superseries begins at the S.K. Handball Stadium here on Tuesday.
Alongwith 2015 World Championships women’s singles runner-up Saina, 2011 Worlds bronze medal winning women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnapa will also skip the event as Jwala is not well. Hence, the pressure will be on double World bronze medallist Sindhu, men’s singles fourth seed Srikanth and eighth seed Kashyap.
To make matters worse, World No.14 Sindhu, 20, has been drawn in the first round against former World Champion and current No.5 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. The 20-year-old Ratchanok has a 3-0 advantage in career meetings over Sindhu.
However, as compared to the Hyderabadi, Srikanth and Kashayp have got relatively easier openers. While World No.4 Srikanth will open his campaign against World No.11 Tian Houwei of China, World No.8 Kashyap will face World No.18 Wei Nan of Hong Kong.
World No.12 H.S. Prannoy will, however, face a tough opponent in seventh seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. Chen has won the only match played against the 23-year-old Indian.
Ajay Jayaram will also face the stiff task of going past sixth seed Viktor Axelsen, even though the Indian has won the only match played against Dane.
Indian pair of Tarun Kona and N. Sikki Reddy will be up against top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in mixed doubles. Sikki will also take part in women’s doubles with Pradnya Gadre and they will open against Japanse pair of Mami Naito and Shizuka Matsuo in the first round.