After team silver, what are Sindhu, Sen, Srikanth & Co’s draws, medal chances?

A day after defending champions India lost to Malaysia in the badminton mixed team final, the spotlight shifts to singles and doubles where India are expected to win a slew of medals.

The field at the Commonwealth Games may not be the strongest, but there are still several milestones for the Indian badminton players to achieve. Former world champion PV Sindhu is looking for her first CWG gold after a silver (2018) and a bronze (2014). In men’s singles, India could well witness a double podium with both Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen in good touch and Malaysia’s Lee Jii Zia skipping the event.

In doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will look to convert their 2018 silver to gold while Ashwini Ponappa (playing mixed doubles with B Sumeeth Reddy) will look for her seventh CWG medal. All Indians have a bye in the first round by virtue of their higher rank.

India is the third most successful country in CWG history, behind only England and Malaysia. In 2018, India won six medals (2 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) and the number could well increase this time.

Here’s a look at the draws and chances of the Indians in action

Men’s Singles

Only three Indian men have won gold at the CWG – the legendary Prakash Padukone (1978), Syed Modi (1982) and most recently Parupalli Kashyap (Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, winner in 2006, 2010 and 2018 was injured in 2014).

Srikanth has a silver in 2018, losing to the Malaysian legend and will now look to change it into gold. Sen is making his debut at the Games but is the top ranked Indian with some solid performances in the last half a year. They could both be on the podium. In the mixed team event, Sen beat reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the semifinal to seal India’s spot in the final. However, Srikanth lost in the final to world No 42 Tze Yong Ng, which ended up being decisive. How he reacts to the loss will be crucial to the former world No 1’s prospects.

Sen and Srikanth, the second and third seeds, are placed in separate halves. Srikanth will have a possible quarterfinal against English sixth seed Toby Penty while Sen has eighth seed from Mauritius, Georges Paul, in his last-eight tie. Srikanth will open his campaign against either Uganda’s Daniel Wanagaliya or Barbados’ Kennie King in the second round. He could face reigning world champion and top-seeded Singaporean, Loh Kean Yew, in the semifinal. Lakshya faces Vernon Smeed of St. Helena with a potential semifinal against fourth seed Brian Yang of Canada.

Women’s Singles

Saina Nehwal is the only Indian woman to win a singles gold, doing it twice in 2010 Delhi and 2018 Gold Coast. Sindhu will look to join her in the list, after losing to the veteran in the last edition’s final. The world No 7 is the favorite for the gold, as the highest seed and in the absence of the usual suspects from the World Tour. Michelle Li of Canada is the second seed and Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland also presents a threat; Sindhu has a superior head to head against the former (8-2) and 1-1 with the latter.

The 27-yr-old will start her campaign against Maldives’ Fathimath Abdul Razzaq and faces a potential banana peel in Goh Jin Wei of Malaysia, the sixth seed and a former junior world champion, in the quarterfinal. Sindhu beat Wei in the mixed team final but not before being stretched by the youngster and this could be a potential banana peel after a week of daily matches.

Aakarshi Kashyap, seeded fifth, will open her campaign against the winner of the tie between Guyana’s Priyanna Devirani Ramdhani and Pakistan’s Mahoor Shahzad. She faces third seed Gilmour in the quarters which will be a challenge for the 20-year-old, who is fairly inexperienced on the BWF tour.

Men’s Doubles

The biggest challenge for the Satwik-Chirag, seeded second, will be Malaysian top seeds Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, who beat them in the mixed team final match on Tuesday. English third seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy; Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall, the Scottish fourth seeds in the same half, can also be a challenge.

The 2018 Gold coast silver medalists and now Thomas Cup champions, in their own words, are fired up after the mixed team silver, and the youngsters can beat anyone on their day. They open their campaign against either Pakistani duo Ali Murad and Muhammad Bhatti or South Africans, Jarred Elliott and Robert Summers. During the mixed team event, they hadn’t played all the doubles ties together, switching the men’s and mixed doubles with B Sumeeth Reddy – but that won’t be a problem for one of the best men’s pairs in the field.

Women’s Doubles

Making their CWG debut in the city they had their biggest break in (semi-finals of the All England) Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly will have a task on their hands. They are the fourth seeds but haven’t played together for a while due to Gayatri suffering an injury and have won two out of the four matches played in the mixed team event.

Despite losing their tie in the mixed team final, the duo have the potential to turn it around. Already in their first year as a pair, they won a Super 100 title in Odisha, finished runners-up at the Syed Modi International and won the national selection trials with an unbeaten record, against experienced pairs such as the 2018 CWG medalists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy.

They will open their campaign against Uganda’s Sharifa Wanyana and Justine Tracy Naulwooza or Mauritius’ Ganesha Mungrah and Jemimah Leung for Sang.

Mixed Doubles

Ashwini Ponnappa and B. Sumeeth Reddy will team up in the mixed doubles and this is one event in which Indians are not seeded. This means they open their campaign against sixth seeds and local favorites Jessica Pugh and Callum Hemming in the second round. They have played three matches in the mixed team (Ashwini played one with Satwik) and won all of them.

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