All England C'ship: Sindhu, Srikanth gun for glory

| | Birmingham

India's formidable duo of PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will have no dearth of motivation as they aim to win the coveted All England Championships starting on Wednesday — something their mentor P Gopichand won 17 summers back.

The All England Championship is considered to be the ultimate glory for any shuttler worth his salt and in India only Prakash Padukone (1980) and Gopichand (2001) earned their rights to stand on the victory podium.

Sindhu and Srikanth are expected to have easy first round outings against relatively unheralded opponents.

However, the road is tricky for former finalist Saina Nehwal, who will face none other than World No 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the lung opener.

Tai Tzu has proved to be her nemesis with an overall 9-5 record against her.

The Indian has lost the last seven outings, the most recent being at the Indonesia Masters final early in the year.

Fourth seed Sindhu, on the other hand, would open her campaign against a relatively unknown Thailand shuttler Pornpawee Chochuwong in the opening round but could face her India Open conqueror Beiwen Zhang in the next. For Sindhu, it will be about setting the record straight against Zhang, who beat her at the Indian Open.

Srikanth, meanwhile, seems to have an easy opening round against Frenchman Brice Leverdez. The Indian badminton is going through a golden period with a clutch of world class performers in its ranks, courtesy Gopichand.

Among his disciples, London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal came agonisingly close losing the final to Carolina Marin in 2015 while Sindhu's quarter-final finish in 2017 has been her best shot in the Championships so far.

Men's World No 3 Srikanth enjoyed a fabulous 2017, where he won four Super Series title and is certainly one of the contenders in the men's section with World No 1 Viktor Axelsen out of the tournament due to ankle injury.

Srikanth had crashed out in the opening round last year and would like to turn the tables this time round.



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