India Open 2022: for once, PV Sindhu has it easy
PV Sindhu, India’s greatest badminton player, is not used to having it easy until the medal hangs around her neck. Her 2019 world championship crown may have turned domineering, but for enduring high performance, operating in the toughest eras of women’s badminton, not a podium has come without one or the other Top Tenner. does lead him into these three tense and punishing players. The fact that she takes the nervousness out of her supporters by removing those tricky steps until the big last day is testament to her consistency. But every now and then, Sindhu deserves a break. A break on the field where it is served by opponents who do not arrive by stomping, commanding a commitment of at least 45 minutes full of dizzying recoveries.
The 2022 Indian Open offers Sindhu, five-time world medalist and two-time Olympic medalist, this rare title opportunity, on a plateau. With the draws of the competition draining the virus in circulation, the Indian will have a few slow-paced opening laps including a few Indian contenders.
It is no secret that India does not have a singles player after Sindhu. Forget to click on its heels, the next Indian crop cannot be said to be even a step behind it in terms of horse racing. To put it bluntly, they might not be in the same frame as her. This gap is getting yawning – not only because Sindhu’s accomplishments are extraordinarily otherworldly in a very mediocre shuttle universe, but also because none of the young players stepped in in time to get attention.
Maybe India was spoiled after Saina Nehwal and Sindhu hit the top marks as teenagers and didn’t drag themselves into the junior or lower tournaments. The follow-up burst was not very bright, however. Yet the likes of Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli and Ira Sharma will deserve the show-court to leave an impression – no matter what classroom abyss that may appear.
Assamese southpaw Ashmita Chaliha is a classic case of what should have been India’s second string with her southpaw play. But has moved away from top-level competition, partly because of the pandemic, but also for lack of precise planning, given that she continues in Guwahati and is barely on the tour.
Rituparna Das, the elegant player with a pitiful form, and the spirited Riya Mookherjee, who has done cross-cross at the national level, failed to win internationally. And this India Open is that chance to play the main draw, like their life depends on it, because it’s rare for a pitch to be so small that Indian national players get a chance.
Aakarshi Kashyap, training as Sindhu’s understudy at Suchitra Academy, has been in good shape in ranking tournaments at the national level. While Malvika Bansod and Samiya Faroo who might be the most intriguing first-round showdown – the expected prize being, facing Saina Nehwal, the original dominatrix.
Nehwal’s fitness has huge lingering question marks, but in addition to first-round opponent Tereza Svavikova, she gets an entire quarterback filled with young Indians trying to win against her. Beating Saina Nehwal will set them up for a season, if one of them finds the courage to show the original a healthy disrespect by slicing death points from it.
For Sindhu however, the only two names that can potentially challenge her are Singaporean Yeo Jia Min in the semifinals (watch out for the Loh Kean Yew effect) and Thailand’s second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the final. But really, it’s PV Sindhu’s title to lose. Early selections in a season that can start with good training at home after all the near misses and aggravations of 2021. A title is a title, and if India opens the season, then Sindhu might as well pocket the first in many months.