India’s former world No. 1 Saina Nehwal, who missed the action in the Uber Cup and crashed out early from the Thailand Open, will return to the circuit with the Indonesia Masters, a Super 500 event on the BWF World Tour, to be held from June 7-12 at Jakarta.
Saina, who was not included in the Uber Cup squad as she did not participate in the trials conducted by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in April, will open her Indonesia Masters campaign against Denmark’s Line Hoejmark Kjaersfeldt in the first round. Saina is ranked 23rd in the world while her Danish opponent is 33rd.
If she manages to beat Kjaersfeldt, Saina will run into old rival and nemesis Carolina Marin of Spain, the 2016 Olympic gold medallist. Marin, who is seeded third, starts her campaign in Indonesia Masters against a qualifier.
PV Sindhu, the other Indian to make the main draw of this USD 360,000 prize money event, will also start her campaign against a Danish player — Line Christophersen. Seeded fourth, Sindhu had reached the semifinals at the Thailand Open, her previous outing in the circuit, before losing to Yu Fei Chen of China.
In the men’s singles, four Indians — Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Parupalli Kashyap — have made it to the main draw. Lakshya, the World Championship bronze medallist who helped India win a historic title in Thomas Cup, will open his campaign against Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark.
Prannoy, another key member of the Thomas Cup-winning team, will start with a first-round clash with Rasmus Gemke, the player he defeated in the must-win third singles match as India defeated Denmark 3-2 in the Thomas Cup semifinals. If they win their opening matches, Prannoy and Lakshya will clash to decide a place in the quarterfinals.
Kashyap is in the top half of the draw and will open his campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. If he wins, he may run into world No. 1 and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the second round.