The first badminton tournament of 2021, the Thailand Open, starts from January 12 to January 17 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. After coming to a halt owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Badminton is finally set to resume.
This will be the first of the three tournaments to be hosted in Thailand in successive weeks. The Yonex Thailand Open will be followed by the Toyota Thailand Open and the BWF World Tour Finals.
Barring youngster Lakshya Sen, who pulled out due to injury, the tournament will feature the entire contingent of Indian shuttlers.
1. PV Sindhu (Women’s singles)
The current world champion PV Sindhu is set to face Denmark shuttler Mia Blichfeldt in the women’s singles first round.
In the next tournament, Sindhu, who has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and has been training in London for the last two months, will meet Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opening round.
2. Saina Nehwal (Women’s singles)
India’s premier badminton player Saina Nehwal has a crucial period ahead of her.
The 22nd-ranked player will be looking to start positively.
Although Saina was set to open her campaign against world No. 4 Nozomi Okuhara, who was forced to pull out.
3. Sourabh Verma (Men’s singles)
4. Parupalli Kashyap (Men’s singles)
5. B Sai Praneeth (Men’s singles)
6. Kidambi Srikanth (Men’s singles)
With top seed Kento Momota withdrawing from the tournaments after testing positive for COVID-19, the entire Japanese contingent pulled out.
This has given a huge opportunity for the Indians to maximise the situation.
In the men’s singles event, former world No. 1 and 2012 Thailand Open men’s champion Kidambi Srikanth will start his campaign against fellow Indian shuttler Sourabh Verma.
7. HS Prannoy (Men’s singles)
8. Sameer Verma (Men’s singles)
9. Ashwini Ponnappa (Women’s doubles) (Mixed doubles)
The top-rated women’s team of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will take on Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong in the first round.
10. N Sikki Reddy (Women’s doubles) (Mixed doubles)
11. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Men’s doubles) (Mixed doubles)
12. Chirag Shetty (Men’s doubles) (Mixed doubles)
The last time Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were in Bangkok, they walked away with the men’s doubles title at the 2019 Thailand Open Super 500 event.
A win over the then reigning world champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China in the final helped them become India’s first men’s doubles badminton pair to win a Super Series title.
13. Manu Attri (Men’s doubles)
14. B Sumeeth Reddy (Men’s doubles)
15. MR Arjun (Men’s doubles)
16. Dhruv Kapila (Men’s doubles)