Sindhu, Srikanth battle fatigue with China Open title in sight

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Top Indian shuttler PV Sindhu will have to find a way to battle fatigue if she has to continue her consistent run in international circuit and regain the China Open, beginning in Changzhou on Tuesday.

Sindhu showed signs of fatigue during her second-round exit at last week’s Japan Open, her first early loss since the first-round ouster from the Denmark Open last October.

The 23-year-old Indian has been the most consistent this season with silver medals in all the major events this year — the Commonwealth Games, the World Championship and the Asian Games.

She also reached the finals at the India Open and Thailand Open.

However, a hectic schedule left her with very little time to recover or savour the moment.

The Olympic and world championship silver medallist had won the $700,000 China Open in 2016 and will be one of the favourites to secure the women’s singles title at the BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament.

The third seeded Indian will start her campaign against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium.

Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal, who had clinched a bronze at Asian Games at Jakarta, will be rejuvenated after skipping the Japan Open. The Indian faces a tough first round against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun.

Saina, who also had won the China Open title in 2014, has a 8-2 head-to-head record against Sung Ji and if she can surpass the Korean, fifth seed Chinese Chen Yufei will stand in her way.

In fact, Saina and Sindhu are on a collison course and might clash in the quarterfinals if they can clear the earlier rounds.

Among others, Kidambi Srikanth has looked a shadow of the man who clinched four titles last season. Though the seventh seeded Indian won the men’s singles silver at the Commonwealth Games, he has been inconsistent in the season so far.

Srikanth, who held the world no 1 ranking for a brief period this year, will look to build on his quarterfinal finish at Japan Open when he begins his campaign against Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke.

However, world champion Kento Momota, who had ended his campaign at Malaysia and Indonesia, will once again stand in his way in the quarterfinal.

HS Prannoy too will look to go deep in the tournament after starting against Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus, seeded eighth.

Among others in fray, women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will face Korean pair of Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.

In men’s doubles, Commonwealth Games silver medallist pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will square off against Malaysia’s Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will fight it out against Taiwanese combination of Liao Min Chun and Su Ching Heng.

In mixed doubles, Satwik and Ashwini will meet English combination of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, while Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki will take on Germany’s Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler in another match.

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