All England Open 2023 Review: Treesa/Gayatri shine brightest, stars disappoint
PV Sindhu was knocked out from the first round.
The BWF Super 1000 event, the All England Open 2023 badminton competition took place from March 14 to 19 at the Arena Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The All England Championships, which first took place in 1899, is among the most prominent competitions on the annual badminton calendar. Only two Indian badminton players have won All England titles: Prakash Padukone (men’s singles in 1980) and Pullela Gopichand (men’s singles in 2001).
Apart from them, Prakash Nath in 1947, Saina Nehwal in 2015, and Lakshya Sen in 2022 reached the finals of the prestigious event. The 2023 edition of the All England Open featured two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, the 2022 runner-up Lakshya Sen, men’s doubles pair and World no.6 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, and Chirag Shetty. They all were a part of the 16-member contingent that represented India. However, the shuttlers who stood out the most were Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly, the women’s doubles pair, that reached the semi-final.
Results of the Indian Contingent
Round of 32 – HS Prannoy beat Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei) – 21-19, 22-20
Round of 16 – HS Prannoy lost to Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia) – 20-22, 21-15, 17-21
Round of 32 – Lakshya Sen defeated Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei) – 21-18, 21-19
Round of 16 – Lakshya Sen lost to Anders Antonsen (Denmark) by 13-21, 15-21
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Round of 32 – Kidambi Srikanth defeated Toma Junior Popov (France) by 19-21, 21-14, 21-5
Round of 16 – Kidambi Srikanth lost to Kodai Naraoka (Japan) by 17-21, 15-21
For India, none of the shuttlers could proceed into the quarters as they ended their All England Open campaign in the Round of 16 matches. Lakshya Sen and K Srikanth had a similar fate, losing in straight sets in the round of 16. Although HS Prannoy pulled the game somehow in his favor by winning the second set, he faced the same outcome as Lakshya and Srikanth. With this, the Indian men’s singles challenge ended at the All England Open 2023 on March 16.
Round of 32 – PV Sindhu lost to Zhang Yi Man (China) by 17-21, 11-21
PV Sindhu was India’s only competitor in the women’s singles event as Saina Nehwal had pulled out of the tournament. Although Sindhu had played an integral role for India in the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships (BAMTC) 2023, not a lot was expected from Sindhu considering her injury, and change in coach. At times, in the BAMTC too, she didn’t look as if she was at her best.
In the All England Open Championship, the two-time Olympic medalist Sindhu couldn’t live up to her reputation as she failed to pose any threat against her Chinese opponent Zhang Yi Man. As a result, she lost to Yi Man in straight sets in the Round of 32 itself. The fact that this was her third Round of 32 exit in the 2023 BWF season was even more worrisome.
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy
Round of 32 – Chirag Shetty/ Satwiksairaj Rankireddy beat Krishna Prasad Garaga/ Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala by 21-13, 21-13
Round of 16 – Chirag Shetty/ Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost to Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang (China) by 21-10, 17-21, 19-21
MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila
Round of 32 – MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila lost to Xiang Yu Ren-Qiang Tan (China) by 16-21, 15-21
Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala
Round of 32 – Krishna Prasad Garaga/ Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost to Chirag Shetty/ Satwiksairaj Rankireddy by 13-21, 13-21
World no. 6 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty started their campaign with a comprehensive win over compatriots Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud. However, the challenge for the brothers of destruction was always going to be uphill considering that Satwik just came out of an injury. The only-seeded Indian pair in the tournament couldn’t get past the World no.9 Chinese duo in their next game. This concluded India’s men’s doubles campaign at the All England Open 2023.
Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly
Round of 32 – Gayatri Gopichand/ Treesa Jolly defeated Jongkolphan Kititharakul/ Rawinda Prajongjai (Thailand) by 21-18, 21-14
Round of 16 – Gayatri Gopichand/ Treesa Jolly defeated Yuki Fukushima/ Sayaka Hirota (Japan) by 21-14, 24-22
Quarter-Finals – Gayatri Gopichand/ Treesa Jolly defeated Li Wen Mei/Liu Xuan Xuan (China) 21-14, 18-21, 21-12
Semi-Finals – Gayatri Gopichand/Treesa Jolly lost to Ha Na Baek/ So Hee Lee (South Korea) by 10-21, 10-21
Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam
Round of 32 – Ashwini Bhat K/Shikha Gautam lost to Ha Na Baek-So Hee Lee (South Korea) by 21-9, 21-8
The shuttlers who proved to be the only ray of hope for India were none other than Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand. The pair which wasn’t even established before the Covid-19 has been the backbone of the team in recent tournaments. After powering India to their first medal at the BAMTC, the World no.17 made it to the second-successive semi-final of the All England Open. Although they weren’t able to better their result, their rise in the international arena is nothing short of sensational. Their phenomenal performance at the event shows that there is more to come from them and they definitely won’t be settling for less.
What’s next for Indian Badminton?
There is no doubt about the fact that PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy are some of the best shuttlers of the country and have time and again proved their mettle on the international level. However, considering Indian shuttlers’ dip in form and inconsistency, it is difficult to predict where Indian Badminton is heading towards, particularly in singles. The likes of Anupama Upadhyay, Unnati Hooda, Priyanshu Rajawat are still young and far from ready. Owing to this, the future of Indian Badminton in singles looks uncertain.
On the other hand, the shuttlers in doubles events are on a rise and are shining brighter than ever. Then Chirag Shetty/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, now Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand are leading India’s charge in top tournaments. This shows that India is on the right track in doubles events.