Tokyo is set to host the 2023 Japan Open from July 25 to July 30.
With the prestigious BWF Super 750 tournament on the horizon, some Indian shuttlers will look to continue their dominant rampage while others aim to return to winning ways.
This becomes even more pivotal as the results at the Japan Open will contribute towards the players’ qualifying rankings for the grandest stage of them all – the 2024 Paris Olympics.
What to expect?
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are presently in the form of their life. They are undefeated in their last 10 BWF World Tour matches.
Currently ranked world no. 3, the fearless Indian pair is coming off a remarkable Korean Open, a Super 500 event, triumph where they defeated the Indonesian duo of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the final.
Rankireddy and Shetty have already clinched the Swiss Open, Asian Championships and Indonesia Open this year but are hungry for more. One can expect the Commonwealth Games gold medallists to capitalise on their momentum and add another trophy to their cabinet.
In a contrasting lens, Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist PV Sindhu will be desperate to return to form with the 2024 Paris Olympics around the corner. Sindhu recently stormed out in the Round of 32 at the Korean Open and plummeted down the rankings to world no. 17 – her worst slump in over a decade.
The Japan Open provides a perfect opportunity for the badminton stalwart to regain her confidence after she struggles with fitness this year. With a newly appointed coach in the shape of Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, Sindhu will look to overcome Zhang Yi Man in the opening round and return to winning ways before Paris 2024.
Sindhu and Zhang have a 2-2 head-to-head record. The last time the two shuttlers met, Sindhu emerged victorious after defeating her in the Malaysian Open quarterfinals earlier this year. A BWF title has eluded Sindhu in 2023, could a reversal of fate be on the cards?
2023 Canada Open champion Lakshya Sen will look to resume business as usual as he returns from a much-needed break. Sen will take on the young 2023 Orleans Masters champion Priyanshu Rajawat in an all-Indian opening encounter.
A potential match-up with Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the Round of 16 awaits the winner of the contest.
India’s top-ranked shuttler HS Prannoy will be determined to make a mark after his second-round exit at the Korean Open. He is expected to overcome China’s Li Shi Feng in the opening round.
Meanwhile, Former world no. 1 Kidambi Srikanth will face Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in the opening round. If all goes well, Prannoy and Srikanth will encounter one another in the men’s singles quarterfinals.
In women’s singles, Malavika Bandsod is set to take on Japan’s own Aya Ohori in her backyard.
Aakarshu Kashyap meanwhile will have to pull off a tremendous feat in her opening match as she is scheduled to compete against Japanese shuttler and world no.1 Akene Yamaguchi.
India’s top women's double team of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will face the Japanese pair of Sayaka Hobara and Yui Suizu in the opening round. Treesa and Gayatri will hope to return to form and replicate their All England Open form.
In the men’s doubles category, the odds are stacked against M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila as they take on the fourth-seeded Malaysian duo of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.
Where to watch the Japan Open Super 750?
The tournament will be telecasted on JioCinema from the quarterfinals. Fans can also grab the live stream of the event on the official Badminton World Federation YouTube channel.
The Japan Open will commence at 6:30 AM (IST) on July 25, 2023.