Today draws for Tennis events came out for 19th Asian games at Gunangzhou. Tennis events start from Sunday, 24th September.
Lets us look at the draws for each event with possibilities for Indians.
We have Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the draw. Sumit is 5th seed here but has got a tough draw from QF onwards; he gets a first round bye and is drawn to meet unranked Leung Ho Tin Marco from Macau in second round. He is slated to meet 297th ranked Bebit Zukayev from Kazakhstan in PQF. Zukayeve has had some good runs on the challenger tour this year, so that won’t be an easy match but hopefully Sumit will get thru that and then it will be toughest challenger for Sumit against top seed 60th ranked Chinese Zhizhen Zhang. If Sumit can cause a big upset against Zhang anything is possible medal wise for Sumit.
Ramkumar too has a first round bye and gets unranked Sunatullo Isroilov from Tajikistan. He should get thru that but then he has a tough PQF coming up against second seeded Japanese Yosuke Watanuki. Considering his current form, do not expect Ramkumar to win against in form Watanuki.
Overall medal looks very tough from mens singles.
We have our #1 Ankita Raina and #3 Rutuja Bhosale playing here. Our #2 Karman Kaur Thandi is not playing singles apparently due to some injury issues. Ankita is third seed behind 2 top 30 Chinese players. Ankita has a first round bye and an easy second round against winner of 2 unranked players from Uzbekistan and Vietnam. In PQF, Ankita should run into 355th ranked Adithya Karunaratne from Hongkong. This match will be a tough one but Ankita should get thru that and then QF will most likely to be 217th ranked Japanese Haruka Kaji. Ankita is 1-1 in head to head against Haruka but has lost her last match against her in January this year. Considering current form of both players Ankita would still be a favorite to win this match-up which would mean a medal for Ankita a repeat of her result in 2018 Asian games. Anything further would be tough for Ankita against top 2 Chinese.
Rutuja Bhosale is 13th seed. She has a first round bye too and second round against 822nd ranked Kazak in second round. She should get thru that and would than run into 4th seed talented young Philippine Alex Ela. That would be very tough match for Rutuja and if she somehow comes thru she is likely to meet 8th seeded Thai Lanlana Tararudee in QF. So, Rutuja will have to create 2 big upsets to win a medal here.
We have top 2 seeded pairs in mens doubles- tops seeds Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri and second seeds Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni. Both the pairs do have some potential tough hurdles on their way to try and make the finals. Rohan and Yuki should comfortably make it to QF where they are likely to face 8th seeded Chinese pairing of Rigele Te and Bu Yunchaokete. Local pairing can get inspired playing in from of home crowds. So, this is a tricky match for Rohan and Yuki. But, with their experience Rohan-Yuki should get thru that and then they are slated to meet third seeded Korean pairing of Jisung Nam and Minkyu Song in SF. Korean pairing has won couple of challenger titles this year and can be really tough opponents for Rohan and Yuki.
Ramkumar and Saketh should have couple of easy rounds and are slated to meet 6th seeded Taiwanese pair but could well instead meet the pair consisting of Chinese top 2 singles players of Zhizhen Zhang and Yibing Wu who are meeting the Taiwanese pair in first round. That would a tough match for Ramkumar and Saketh. If they win that medal will be guaranteed for them.
Pairing of Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare are third seeds. We are also having the pair of Karman Kaur Thandi and Rutuja Bhosale in the draw. Very difficult to predict anything in womens doubles as our pairs have not played together regularly. So, a medal for either of them would be a surprise.
Again top 2 seeds in this category are Indians- top seeds Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Raina and second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale. From the draws, reaching at least the SF stage looks to be quite likely for both our pairings. But, a lot will depend in mixed doubles on how they pair well together.
We had 1 gold and 2 bronze medals last time around. If we perform as per our seeding, we are slated to get 6 medals this time. There is good chance that we will exceed our showing from last Asian games this time.