Badminton World Championships: Indians are out of form but have a chance

Nanjing: Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will look to break the jinx of losing major finals and better the colour of her medal when she spearheads the Indian challenge at the prestigious World Championships, starting here on Monday.

If improving on the silver and bronze medal won at the 2017 edition in Glasgow seems daunting, that’s because the Indian contingent that’s currently in Nanjing is going through its leanest season in recent years.

This is the first year since 2013 when India will be heading to the world championships without a single shuttler having won a Superseries or its 2018 equivalent Super 500 title on the BWF World Tour.

Major Indian challenge at the event

PV Sindhu

Strength: The Hyderabadi has developed a patient game that allows her to frustrate her opponents with her defence and net play.

Opportunity: Sindhu is from that unfortunate crop of players who just cannot cross the final hurdle. That is motivation enough for her to go the distance and get another medal for the country.

Threat: The Indian would also be meeting her nemesis Nozomi Okuhara in quarters and it would be difficult to overcome her.

Saina Nehwal 

Strength: She has a wide range of shots and covers the court well. This means that there are not many chances for her opponents score winners over her.

Opportunity: With nothing to prove to anyone, Nehwal would look to have a good tournament.

Threat: Nehwal faces Carolina Marin in the quarters that could end her campaign.

Kidambi Srikanth 

Strength: What separates Srikanth and rest of the players is his temperament. He is unfazed by pressure situations and is known to give his best on the court.

Opportunity: Srikanth would be eager to end his quarter-final jinx at the world meets.

Threat: Ever since Japan’s Kento Momota’s return to the professional circuit, Srikanth has won two battles against him. If he manages to reach the semis, he would be under pressure to perform well under Momota.

2018 record (of 6 Indians in singles draw)

Saina Nehwal: 22-8
PV Sindhu: 27-8
K Srikanth: 20-7
S Verma: 10-17
Sai Praneeth: 14-11
HS Prannoy: 12-8

(With agency inputs)