Badminton: Men's singles champion B. Sai Praneeth of India to defend title at S'pore Open

B. Sai Praneeth said defending his title will be challenging, but said he will make his fans proud.
B. Sai Praneeth said defending his title will be challenging, but said he will make his fans proud.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - B. Sai Praneeth may be enjoying a one-month break after his Thomas Cup exertions in May, but the Indian shuttler will be bracing himself for a busy two months ahead.

The organisers of the Singapore Badminton Open confirmed on Monday (June 4) that the 25-year-old will be back to defend his men's singles title at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the July 17-22 tournament.

Praneeth will be joined in Singapore by men's singles world No. 40 Parupalli Kashyap, women's world No. 91 Mugdha Agrey and world No. 28 women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N. Sikki Reddy in India's 18-strong squad.

The US$355,000 (S$474,150) Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 500 tournament will be Praneeth's third competition on the trot, after the June 26-July 1 Malaysia Open and the July 3-8 Indonesia Open.

The world No. 18 will compete in the July 30-Aug 5 World Championships in China, before heading to Indonesia for the Asian Games, where the badminton tournament will be played from Aug 19-28.

"2017 was a wonderful year for me, capping it off with a gold at the Singapore Badminton Open was a great reward for my hard work," said Praneeth, who beat team-mate Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 to win the Singapore Open - his maiden Superseries title - last year.

"Defending my title this year is going to be challenging, but I will make my fans proud."

Meanwhile, the mixed doubles competition at the annual tournament is set to feature a strong field, after organisers confirmed the participation of Hong Kong's world No. 3 pair of Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.

They are joined by England's world No. 9 duo of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock - who claimed their second successive Commonwealth Games title on the Gold Coast in April - and Indonesia's world No. 1 tandem of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.

Tickets for the Singapore Open are available via Sportshub Tix and ApacTix.