The Denmark Open Super 750 tournament is all set to restart proceedings for the COVID-19 hampered Badminton World Federation calendar. Hosted in Odense, the $750,000 Denmark Open will begin on October 13 and conclude on October 18. Spearheading India’s hopes will be Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth.
Originally, the season was supposed to commence once again with the prestigious biannual Thomas and Uber Cup, which was scheduled to be held in Denmark between October 3-October 11. However, several major countries opted out of the tournament citing safety concerns, causing the event to be postponed to 2021 instead.
With PV Sindhu pulling out of the tournament, all focus will be on Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to anchor the Indian contingent. The Denmark Open will be a great place for Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, who have both been former champions here, to restart their season and collect points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
In the women’s singles, World No. 20 Saina Nehwal will be singularly carrying India’s hopes as she opens her campaign against France’s Yaelle Hoyaux. After that, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist might be meeting the seventh-seeded Danish favourite, Mia Blichfeldt in the subsequent round.
If she makes it to the following round, a tough challenge in the form of fourth-seeded Canadian, Michelle Li, will await the 30-year-old shuttler from Hisar.
In the men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth has plenty for company with the young and extremely talented Lakshya Sen on board, while the likes of the ever-reliable Parupalli Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey also in the same milieu.
Srikanth will begin his campaign against England’s Toby Penty, and might go on to an all-Indian clash against Subhankar Dey in the second round. If he manages to bypass that challenge, a tougher one will greet him in the form of the second-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan. Dey, on the other hand, will have to get past Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue to book a date with World No. 14, Kidambi Srikanth here.
Other than Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, all eyes will definitely be on the 2019 SaarLorLux Open and the 2019 Dutch Open winner, Lakshya Sen. The 19-year-old from Almora will begin his medal quest against France’s Christo Popov. He then might go on to meet Japanese Kanta Tsuneyama, who is seeded fourth in the event.
On the other hand, World No. 24, Parupalli Kashyap, husband to Nehwal, will also aspire to put his best foot forward against Japan’s Koki Watanabe. Other than Sen and Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram has a tough opening round match against local favorite, Anders Antonsen.
After such a long hiatus in sporting action, Indian shuttlers are raring to go. They will be banking on Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to inspire and lead them forward. It is going to be extremely crucial as an event for both Nehwal and Srikanth as well as they are within sight of qualifying for the 2021 Olympics.
Published 05 Oct 2020, 21:50 IST