Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu has been handed relatively an easy draw but tough outings await Saina Nehwal as the Indian duo returns to international competition in Thailand, nearly 10 months after COVID-19 pandemic halted all tournaments globally.
All eyes are on the two Super 1000 events — Yonex Thailand Open (January 12-17) and Toyota Thailand Open (January 19-24) as the world’s best returns to action following a prolonged break.
World champion Sindhu, seeded sixth, will open against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, while Saina, who has recently recovered from COVID-19, will face formidable Japanese Nozomi Okuhara, seeded third, in the first round.
In the next tournament, Sindhu, who has 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, while London Olympics bronze medallist Saina will square off against another Thai star player Ratchanok Inthanon, seeded fourth.
The 25-year-old Sindhu has been seeded sixth in both the tournaments, according to the draws announced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday.
In the men’s singles, a total of seven Indians, including former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, Olympic-bound B Sai Praneeth and young Lakshya Sen, will be participating in both the events.