Prannoy to lead India’s challenge in Taipei Open badminton

Taipei, Jun 19 (PTI) The semifinal loss in Indonesia a thing of the past now, HS Prannoy will look to carry on his good form when he spearheads the Indian challenge at the Taipei Open badminton tournament, starting here on Tuesday.

World No.9 Prannoy is seeded third here and will take on a qualifier in the men’s singles opening round of the BWF World Tour Super 300 event.

Prannoy, who claimed the Malaysia Masters Super 300 title last month, put up an impressive display at the Indonesia Open, a Super 1000 tournament, making it to the semifinals, where he lost 15-21 15-21 to world No.1 and eventual winner Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Prannoy would be desperate to make up for that loss.

The other Indians in the men’s singles are Meiraba Luwang Maisnam, who is up against fifth seed Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong, Kiran George, Sathish Kumar Karunakaran, Mithun Manjunath and S Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian.

Subhankar Dey and Parupalli Kashyap will have to go through the qualifiers.

Kodai Naraoka is the top seed in men’s singles. The other top male players in the tournament are Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen (2nd) and Kenta Nishimoto (4th).

London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will look to regain her form in the women’s singles alongside compatriots Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap and Ruthvika Shivani Gadde.

Saina will be up against Thailand’s Pornpicha Choeikeewong in the opening round, while Malvika will face third seed Beiwen Zhang.

The star men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who created history on Sunday by becoming the first pair from India to win a Super 1000 event, will not feature in Taipei.

In their absence eight seeds Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala will lead India’s charge in the men’s doubles and open their campaign against Vinson Chiu and Joshua Yuan of USA.

In women’s doubles, Rutuparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda are India’s only representatives, while the pairs of Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Redd and Navaneeth Bokka and Priya Konjengbam will be seen in action in the mixed doubles.

The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.

One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.