The world number one admitted his “spirit was almost broken” after the accident in January -- hours after he won the Malaysia Masters -- which killed the driver of the vehicle taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport.
World Champion Sindhu and title-holder Saina looked impressive in the season-opening Malaysia Masters before their campaign ended in the quarterfinals with straight game losses and the duo will need to step up if they want to put up an impressive show this week.
Praneeth’s 11-21 15-21 loss meant another disappointment for India in the Super 500 tournament following Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty’s first-round defeat in the men’s doubles event on Tuesday.
The other Indian women’s singles player, Saina Nehwal, who claimed the Indonesia Masters last year before slumping to a series of early exits in the rest of the year, will open against a qualifier at the Axiata Arena.
The BWF World Tour Super 300 event will be Saina’s fourth outing this season, having won the Indonesia Masters before losing in the semifinals and quarterfinals at Malaysia Masters and All England Championship respectively.
Highlights: Saina Nehwal ended India’s campaign at the Malaysia Masters after losing 16-21, 13-21 in the semi-final against Rio Olympics gold medallist Carolina Marin in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. The Spanish shuttler is gunning for her second Malaysia Masters title, a tournament which PV Sindhu has won twice in her career.Follow Saina Nehwal vs Carolina Marin highlights below -
World no. 9 Saina holds an 8-4 overall head-to-head record against Okuhara, which includes back-to-back wins over the current world no.2 in the last two tournaments -- last year’s Demark Open and the French Open.
World Number 8 Srikanth endured a below-par season where he topped the BWF ranking for a brief period and also claimed the Commonwealth Games silver but failed to win a single title, following an unprecedented high of 2017.