Birmingham: Saina Nehwal faces her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying in the first round while P V Sindhu has got an easy opener against Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong after the Indian shuttlers were handed a tricky draw at the USD 1000,000 All England Championship next month.
World No. 11 Saina, who had reached the finals at the 2015 All England Championship and lost to the Taiwanese World No. 1 Tai Tzu 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.
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 March 14-18. 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 number one 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 semifinals of Indonesia Open, will face Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan, while India Open semifinalists Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will take on Germany’s Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler in 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.