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Badminton

Hong Kong Open 2023: Can Lakshya Sen get his second Super 500 title of the year?

Lakshya Sen will spearhead the Indian challenge at the Hong Kong Open in the absence of senior players like HS Prannoy and PV Sindhu.

Hong Kong Open 2023: Can Lakshya Sen get his second Super 500 title of the year?
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FILE PHOTO: Lakshya Sen put up a bold fight in the Japan Open semifinal in Tokyo on July 29, 2023. (Photo Credit: BAI)

By

Deepanshu Jain

Updated: 11 Sep 2023 2:11 PM GMT

Hong Kong Open 2023, the seventh Super 500 event of the year on the BWF World Tour, will start on 12 September in Kowloon, Hong Kong, in the absence of top Indian shuttles like HS Prannoy and PV Sindhu. The finals of the $420,000 event will be played on September 17. This will be the last major badminton tournament before the Asian Games, which is scheduled to start on September 23 in China.

A 21-member Indian team, spearheaded by Lakshya Sen, will vie for the laurels at the event. Kidambi Srikanth, who is bound for the Asian Games, has also given the tournament a miss.

Lakshya, seeded eighth, will be India's biggest bet for the title in the absence of Prannoy. The world no. 12 will look to break into the top 10 by winning this title.

However, in women's singles, in the absence of Sindhu, India's chance in the field will be weak as Malvika Bansod starts in the qualifiers, while Aakarshi Kashyap plays in the main round.

Lakshya, who had made a first-round exit at the China Open after losing against world no. 10 Anders Antonsen, plays a qualifier in the first round. However, he is likely to face Antonsen again, in the second round. The Dane shuttler takes on unseeded Toma Junior Popov in the first round.

If Lakshya gets past Antonsen, he will run into world no. 2 Anthony Ginting of Indonesia in the round of 16. That Ginting is yet to win a match against Lakshya bodes well for the Indian. Lakshya has a 3-0 head-to-head record against Ginting, with their last meeting coming at the Denmark Open in 2022.

World no. 28 Priyanshu Rajawat, who is the second Indian male in the men's singles draw, will open his campaign against Japanese world no.17 Kanta Tsuneyama, who is fresh from a quarterfinal finish at the China Open last week. If Priyanshu wins against Tsuneyama, then he is likely to face seventh-seeded Chou Tien Chen, who is struggling for form and has recently been dropped out of the top 10 in world rankings.

Alongside Lakshya and Priyanshu, there are five more Indians - emerging star Shankar Muthusamy, Mithun Manjunath, Shaswat Dalal, Ravi and Kiran George - in the men's singles qualifying draw looking for their entry in the main draw. Kiran, who is coming to Hong Kong after winning the BNI Indonesia Masters Super 100 tournament last week, will be one of the favourites to qualify for the main draw.

Aakarshi, the lone representative in the main draw of the women's singles category, will be up against German player Yvonne Li, the world no. 24, in round one. If Aakarshi gets past the hurdles of the first round, she will face a tough test in the second round, with three-time world champion Carolina Marin, who is fresh from a silver medal-winning performance at the recently concluded BWF World Championships last month, waiting for her.

Malvika plays Thailand's Pitchamon Opatniputh in the qualifiers.

Treesa-Gayatri looks to regain form before Asiad

In women's doubles, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will look to recover from their recent slump in form as they start their campaign against the Dutch pair of Jille-Seinen. This will be the third meeting between the two pairs. The Indian pair came on the top on both the previous occasions. If they win their first-round clash, there will be a tough task ahead in the second round against Apriyani-Siti of Indonesia who has been in great form. The Indonesians won a silver medal at the World Championships.

There are three more women's doubles pairs - Nikki Rapria-Nishu Rapria, N Sikki Reddy-Arathi Sara Sunil and Ashwini Ponnappa-Tanisha Crasto - starting in the qualifying round. With two experienced Indian pairs - Sikki-Sunil and Ashwini-Tanisha facing each other, at least one Indian pair has a confirmed slot in the main draw.

In the men's doubles category, with world no. 2 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty giving the Hong Kong Open a miss due to their preparation for the Asian Games, Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Goud Panjala are representing India in this category. They will be up against a pair from the qualifier in the first round, and if they advance to the second round, Krishna Prasad and Vishnu Goud will play against the current Olympic champion Lee Wang-Wang Chin Lin.

In mixed doubles, India will have two representations - one in the main draw and one in the qualifiers. In the main draw, Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy will be up against Singapore's Hee-Tan in the first round. This will be their second meeting and the Indian pair will try to level the parity as they lost in their previous meeting. Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy will play in the qualifying round against a Philippines pair, who is currently world rank 67 and will be the favourite to reach the main draw

Live streaming info

Matches of Hong Kong Open 2023 will be streamed live on BWF's YouTube channel. In India, matches will be available live on Jio Cinema and Sport18 from the quarterfinal stage onwards.

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