Rio Games silver medallist and reigning world champion PV Sindhu is likely to run into one of her strongest rivals, world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying, in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. In the draw conducted on Thursday, Sindhu was placed in Group J, alongside Hong Kong's world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi and Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova, ranked 58th. Sindhu would be expected to top the group and move into the Round of 16, where she could potentially face Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt, followed by Japan's Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals.
She currently trails Tai Tzu Ying 5-13 in their head-to-head, and lost in three games when they last faced off, at the World Tour finals in January this year. If she does go through to the final, she could be fighting for gold against world No 2 Chen Yu Fei. The young Chinese player's All England win in 2019 broke her country's women's singles title lull at a major Championship. Sindhu has beaten Yu Fei in two of their three previous encounters.
Meanwhile, B Sai Praneeth has been placed in Group D, where he will have to go past world no 29 Mark Caljouw of Netherlands and Isreal's Misha Zilberman, ranked 47. If he tops his group, Sai Praneeth could face eighth seed Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong in the Round of 16 and world No 1 Kento Momota in the quarterfinals. Praneeth has won two of his five meetings against Momota, both of them far back in 2013.
World no 10 men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will be competing in Group A. It's a tough draw for the Indian duo, who will have to compete against top seed Indonesian pair of Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, Chinese Taipei's world no 3 Lee yang and Wang Chi Lin and England duo of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, ranked 18th. The Indian duo have lost in all eight instances they've played against the top seeded pair. They will have to finish inside the top two of the four-team group to progress into the quarterfinals.
(With inputs from PTI)