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Badminton

Thailand Masters: Chance for Kidambi Srikanth, Indian youngsters to shine

With elite Indian shuttlers skipping the event, Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian challenge. The former world no. 1 Indian shuttler will take on Wang Tzu Wei, the world no. 26 from Chinese Taipei, in the first round.

Thailand Masters: Chance for Kidambi Srikanth, Indian youngsters to shine
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Kidambi Srikanth and Unnati Hooda

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 29 Jan 2024 9:34 AM GMT

The season's fourth BWF World Tour event, Thailand Masters Super 300, will start on Tuesday at the Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.

With elite Indian shuttlers skipping the event, Kidambi Srikanth, ranked 25th in the BWF world rankings, will lead the Indian challenge. The former world no. 1 Indian shuttler will take on Wang Tzu Wei, the world no. 26 from Chinese Taipei, in the first round.

As top eight shuttlers, including Viktor Axelsen and India's HS Prannoy, gave the tournament a miss, Srikanth, who made two first-round exits in 2024, will look for a redemption of his depleted form and career by winning the title.

Kiran Goerge, who has been in fine form and made a quarterfinal finish at last week's Indonesia Masters after qualifying for the main draw, will be the player to watch out for in the event. Kiran will face Lei Lan Xi of China in the Round of 32.

However, Sameer Verman, Mithun Manjunath and Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian will have to play the qualifiers to stand a chance to play in the main draw of the BWF World Tour event.

Despite a diluted field, it will not be easy for an Indian player to stake a claim on the title as top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn, the defending world champion from Thailand, will be the favourite for the title along with Loh Kean Yew and Chou Tien Chen.

In women's singles, as PV Sindhu has not yet recovered from a knee injury suffered last year at the French Open, promising youngster Unnati Hooda, 16, will be the one to watch out for as she goes up against compatriot Malvika Bansod in Round of 32.

On the other hand, Aakarshi Kashyap, the world no. 41, will have her task cut out when she encounters local favourite and top seed Ratchanok Intanon, ranked 13th in the world.

Ashmita Chaliha and Samiya Imad Farooqui will play in the qualifiers.

In women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto - who rose to the top 20 of BWF World Rankings - will look to regain their mojo when they go up against local pair Laksika Kanlaha and Phataimas Muenwong in the first round.

Ashwini and Tanisha put up a remarkable show at the fag end of the season in 2023 when they won the Guwahati Masters and made runner-up finishes at Syed Modi International and Odisha Masters. But going into the Olympic year, the sparks of the last season have not yet been seen in their play.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand - who slipped to the 22nd spot in the world rankings due to a string of poor performances - will look to revive their partnership when they take on Lui Lok Lok and Ng Wing Yung in R32.

Meanwhile, Panda sisters - Rutaparna and Swetaparna - will play qualifiers in a bid to earn a spot in the main draw.

In men's doubles, with world no. 1 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty deciding to play only selective tournaments in the run-up to the Paris Olympics, world no. 42 MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will be shouldering the responsibility of keeping Indian hope alive in the event.

The promising pair, in recent times, has dealt with big blows due to a string of injuries. They will have to negotiate a massive challenge in the first round as they go up against Indonesia's world no. 11 and winner of last week's Indonesia Masters men's doubles title Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin. Leo and Daniel are seeded second in the event.

In mixed doubles, no Indian pair earned direct entry into the Thailand Masters main draw. Tanisha will pair up with Dhruv when they take on fellow Indian duo Ashith Surya and Amrutha Pramuthesh in the qualifiers.

Thailand Masters 2024 streaming info:

The live streaming of Thailand Masters 2024 will be available on the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) YouTube channel, BWF TV.

From the semifinals onward, the matches will be live-streamed for the Indian region exclusively on the Jio Cinema app and website.

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