(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Preview: India Open 2022
Date: 1/11/2022 11:39 AM
Published by : Yash Sharma
The Super 500 tournament will take place after a gap of two years. Starting today, it will conclude on Sunday.

Following the cancellation in 2020, badminton was scheduled to return to India in May last year. However, the second pandemic wave forced a further postponement. Despite the third wave currently surging in the country, the India Open will get underway amidst strict safety protocols.

While the draw understandably features many athletes from the host nation, there is a lot to cheer for Europe. 

A repeat of the World Championships?
The top half of the men’s singles draw features the recent World Championships finalists. The runner-up and home favourite Kidambi Srikanth will seek to avenge his loss to Loh Kean Yew. He is expected to face the world champion in the semifinals. The bronze medallist Lakshya Sen is seeded third and can reach the finals if he manages to overcome H. S. Prannoy in a potential quarterfinal. 

However, there are lots of players with great potential to spoil the party for the more favoured names. Arnaud Merkle, Brian Yang, and Sameer Verma. In particular, Nhat Nguyen can hope to feature in the semifinals. The Centre of Excellence player Felix Burestedt will likely square off against Sen in the second round. 

The clear favourite
Pusarla V. Sindhu is the women’s singles top seed and accordingly the favourite for the title. If the home favourite showcases her highest level, the only actual threat for her will be Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the final. While Sindhu will hope to end her two-year title drought, the veteran Saina Nehwal will also seek a good outing in a relatively easier draw. 

The return of the Daddies
The spectacularly successful Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan/ Hendra Setiawan is back. The top seeds have an on-paper simple route to the business end of the tournament, where their form will decide the eventual winner. The Daddies are expected to face the third seeds Ong Yew Sin/ Teo Ee Yi in the semifinals and the home favourites Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty in the final. 

The best European bet
Rodion Alimov is pairing up with Konstantin Abramov in the men’s doubles. France’s Fabian Delrue/ William Villeger are the other top European pair. However, Alimov has a great chance to clinch the mixed doubles crown with Alina Davletova as the second seed, who won the Syed Modi International in 2019. 

While they face a tricky opener against Sumeeth B. Reddy/ Ashwini Ponnappa, the Russians have clear route to the final. They can expect to run into either the top seeds Tan Kian Meng/ Lai Pei Jing, or Dhruv Kapila/ N. Sikki Reddy there. 

COVID forces withdrawals
With Sean Vendy and Nathan Robertson contracting the virus, the entire Team England has withdrawn from the tournament. Likewise, the home favourite Sai B. Praneeth will not be able to participate. 

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