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Saina Nehwal and P.V Sindhu eye the Olympic Berth

The Swiss Open will mark the start of an extended Olympic qualifying period which will run until June 15. With this all eyes will be on Saina Nehwal, the former world number, who is yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Nehwal had won the Swiss Open in 2011 and 2012.

The world number 19 can possibly face compatriot and reigning world champion PV Sindhu in the semi-final. The two India stars are placed in the same half, however, Sindhu has a comparatively easier passage till the quarter-finals. The world number 7, seeded second, will look to go the distance again as she opens her campaign against Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit.

Sindhu didn’t have a good outing in the three events . Thailand recently but the road to the quarterfinal here looks smooth for the 25-year-old. She is likely to face fifth seed Thai Busanan Ongbamrungphan. An opponent she had beaten at the Toyota Thailand Open in January.

30-year-old Saina will have to overcome players like Korea’s sixth seed Sung Ji Hyun and fourth seeded Danish Mia Blichfeldt  whom she is likely to meet to set up a semifinal face-off with Sindhu.

In the men’s singles, it will be an all-Indian show

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Indian Shuttlers at Swiss Open

In the men’s singles, it will be an all-Indian show where Kidambi Srikanth will begin his campaign against academy-mate Sameer Verma. If he negotiates the first few rounds he may face HS Prannoy or Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand in the quarters and Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semifinals.

The bottom half of the draw is packed with Indian players. Fifth seed Sai Praneeth faces Misha Zilberman of Israel and may have to play Parupalli Kashyap in the second round.

Fast-rising youngster Lakshya Sen got a difficult draw. He has to be at his best when he starts against the tricky Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand and may run into second seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the second round. He may have to deal with Sai Praneeth in the quarterfinals.

Ajay Jayaram will play against Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand and may face Sourabh Verma in the quarterfinals.

Second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are overwhelming favourites to win the men’s doubles title. The duo faces its first big challenge, perhaps in the quarters against Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia. They may meet Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia in the final. The Indians have a 2-2 win-loss record against the Malaysians.

Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa face the formidable Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia in the first round. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy square up against third seeds Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of Denmark.

Also Read: David Goffin wins Montpellier Open, lifts first ATP title since 2017

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