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Sindhu and Srikanth lead India charge in Madrid


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TWO-TIME Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and ace men’s shuttler Kidambi Srikanth continued their European season at the Madrid Spain Masters tournament, which began on Tuesday (26).

Last year’s finalist Sindhu, seeded second here, will square off against Wen Yu Zhang of Canada in the round-of-32 contest, while seventh seed Srikanth will take on a qualifier. Sindhu will hope to go the distance after having suffered a heartbreaking loss to Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the previous edition of the tournament.

Srikanth, whose run in the recentlyconcluded Swiss Open Super 300 tournament came to an end after a semifinal defeat to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chun-Yi, will hope to make an impact after bowing out of the race for the Paris Olympics.

Srikanth, who is playing his ninth tournament this season and had made his first final-four appearance in 16 months at the Swiss Open recently, will have the company of Kiran George and Sathish Karunakaran in the tournament.

Among other Indians in the fray, Ashmita Chaliha will play the opener against fourth-seeded and former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, while Malvika Bansod will clash with Iris Wang of the United States for a place in the last-16.

This year’s All England Championships semifinalist Lakshya Sen has pulled out of the tournament. The fifth seed was scheduled to take on world No. 39 Takuma Obayashi of Japan but decided against competing in this event.

Sen reached the French Open quarterfinals but was knocked out in the second round at the Swiss Open.

Three Indian pairs figure in the main draw of the women’s doubles with fifth seeds Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand leading the charge. The duo is coming off a disappointing straightgame quarterfinal loss in the Swiss Open to Australia’s Setyana Mapasa and Angela Yu.

The third-seeded Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa will also try their luck here after a second-round loss in Basel, while Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam is the third Indian women’s pair here.

In men’s doubles, Krishna Prasad Garaga and Sai Pratheek will open against fourth-seeded Canadians Dong Adam and Yakura Nyl, while eighth seeds M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will take on the Mexican duo of Job Castillo and Luis Armando Montoya Navarro.


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