In the absence of Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap due to an ankle injury, young P.V. Sindhu will spearhead the Indian challenge at the $200,000 Super Series tournament, starting here on Tuesday.
Tired after the hectic Indian Badminton League (IBL), Saina decided to take rest but Kashyap was forced to pull out at the last moment as he could not recover from his ankle injury, which he suffered during the IBL.
“I’m not playing the Japan Open as I could not recover from the ankle injury I had suffered during the IBL,” Kashyap told PTI.
With the senior shuttlers missing in action, all eyes will be on World No. 10 Sindhu, who will be playing in her first international tournament after winning the prestigious bronze medal at the World Championship in China.
Sindhu, seeded eighth, will take on two qualifiers in the first two rounds and is likely to make it to the last eight without much ado.
In the quarterfinals, the 18-year-old from Hyderabad, in all probability, would face World No.1 and Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China.
A year ago, Sindhu had defeated the Chinese during the 2012 China Masters in Changzhou but Xuerui will always prove to be a very tough customer to get across, considering her exploits at the world stage.
In women’s singles, Tanvi Lad, ranked No.77 in the world, will give Sindhu company. The Mumbai girl will take on Japanese World No.20 Sayaka Takahashi in her opening round at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.