PV Sindhu faces high hurdles on way to Tokyo podium

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No PV Sindhu medal is full with out matching wits with the Japanese, and the Tokyo Olympics stars have aligned to pit her in opposition to Akane Yamaguchi in a possible quarterfinal. Should seedings stick to script, World No 7 Sindhu can be up in opposition to the house contender within the Last 8.

The final time they met, Sindhu beat Yamaguchi – virtually a foot shorter, however twice busier – in three units on the All England. It was a major end in what was the Indian’s greatest preventing match of 2021. Downing the un-tiring Yamaguchi who retrieves endlessly and might nonetheless sneak within the offensive punch in her back-bending smashes, Sindhu had secured the confidence-booster within the early season at Birmingham.

Like she has been accustomed to, all through her profitable sojourns on the Majors, the reward for downing Yamaguchi might be an much more treacherous opponent – the misleading dazzler, Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei or the older talent-oozing Intanon Ratchanok.

Sindhu’s half is suffering from shuttlers looking for their very own massive medals – with the Indian having performed a component in denying them glory in previous competitions. Tai Tzu alone was hassled out of the Rio Olympics and knocked out of the 2019 World Championships by Sindhu. As such, Sindhu will run into dangerously unfulfilled ambitions of shuttlers for whom Tokyo would be the last-chance saloon.

The different half of the draw has Chinese Chen Yufei, He Bingjiao, Korean An Se Young and gold-favourite Nozomi Okuhara.

Beware of the beginning

A gold medal, by definition, calls for you show your would possibly in opposition to anybody else within the draw – and Sindhu has a few tough potential hurdles even earlier than she squares off in opposition to Yamaguchi (presumably) within the quarters. The Indian is clubbed in Group J with Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi, whose acrobatic protection and deception from the again, can’t be simply ignored.

Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt was simply put aside earlier in March however may be notably pugnacious. This Round of 16 opponent ought to hold her on her toes.

Great wall of Momota

B Sai Praneeth wanted to keep away from Viktor Axelsen and top-ranked Kento Momota of Japan early. The draw has been nastily unkind. Should he get previous harmful floaters Misha Zilberman and Mark Caljouw from Group D, Sai has NG Long ka Angus of Hong Kong, a busy opponent who fancies his probabilities in opposition to Indians.

Momota’s nerves whereas making an attempt to win Japan it’s first-ever gold within the residence Games may be exploited. Whether Sai Praneeth can summon the assumption wanted to pierce by essentially the most indestructible protection aiming at gold in Tokyo, stays to be seen.

At the 2019 World’s the place Sai gained India’s first males’s singles bronze in 26 years, he was crushed 21-13, 21-8 by Momota. Two months later, issues bought much more dire with a 21-6 scoreline at Denmark. But nobody stated Olympic medals got here straightforward.

Rough draw for Satwik-Chirag

India’s males’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have a punishing group-stage to negotiate. It’s Sanhok-level of issue, for the PUBG lovers.

As if being bunched with World No 1 Kevin Sukamuljo – Marcus Gideon – the busybody ‘Minions’ of Indonesia wasn’t sufficient, there’s Lee Yang – Wang Chi Lin of Chinese Taipei, who set the Thailand tournaments on hearth in January, throbbing to win in the identical A Group.

British Ben Lane – Sean Vendy, picked forward of their increased ranked compatriots – who gained bronze at Rio and are in the midst of a spat of a variety blowout proper now, could have a degree to show too.

Expected to be the shock package deal of the Olympics for the nation chasing its third successive Games medal, the Indians have a nasty, chaotic shock of their very own, to get off the mark. Satwik loves to smash his way out of those minefields sometimes quite than grind out. The Olympic draw although, would possibly depart him with no alternative now however to dial up the aggression.

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