Tough All England Open draw for Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap

Saina Nehwal will face in-form Mia Blichfeldt while Parupalli Kashyap will play top-seeded Kento Momota in opening round matches.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Indian badminton couple Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap will face a challenging draw at the prestigious All England Open starting March 17.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday released the draw for the Super 1000 event in Birmingham, England.

London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal has been drawn against the in-form Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the first round of the women’s singles.

Blichfeldt had beaten Saina’s fellow Olympic medallist PV Sindhu at the Yonex Thailand Open last month and more recently, helped Denmark retain the European Mixed Team Championships.

Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal’s husband Parupalli Kashyap will face world No. 1 Japanese Kento Momota, who is expected to finally return to action after recovering from COVID-19.

Rio 2016 silver medallist PV Sindhu has a relatively easier draw. She opens her campaign against Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah and could face Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the quarter-finals and old rival Carolina Marin in the semis.

In the men’s singles, former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth faces a formidable foe in Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto in the opening round while world championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth faces Toma Junior Popov of France.

Sai Praneeth's plan to overcome fitness issues and clinch Olympic ticket

The badminton bronze medallist at the 2019 World Championships has used the...

The 2021 All England Open will be the second tournament this year to offer ranking points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, after the Swiss Open. Indian badminton players will be hoping to perform at their best and carry the form into the extended qualification window.

All England Open 2021 draw for Indian badminton players

Women’s Singles

PV Sindhu vs Soniia Cheah (Malaysia)

Saina Nehwal vs Mia Blichfeldt (Denmark)

Men’s Singles

Kidambi Srikanth vs Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia)

Parupalli Kashyap vs Kento Momota (Japan)

Lakshya Sen vs Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Thailand)

HS Prannoy vs Liew Daren (Malaysia)

Sameer Verma vs Ygor Coelho (Brazil)

B Sai Praneeth vs Toma Junior Popov (France)

Men’s Doubles

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty vs Eloi Adam/Julien Maio (France)

MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila vs Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (Malaysia)

Women’s Doubles

Ashwini Ponnappa/ N Sikki Reddy vs Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Thailand)

Meghana Jakkampudi/Poorvisha Ram vs Alexandre Boje/Mette Poulsen (Denmark)

Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam vs Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith (England)

Mixed Doubles

Dhruv Kapila/Meghana Jakkampudi vs Praveen Jordan/Melati Oktavianti (Indonesia)

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Ashwini Ponnappa vs Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo (Japan)

Pranaav Jerry Chopra/ N Sikki Reddy vs Max Flynn/Jessica Pugh (England)