Saina’s best chance to  end title drought is here

After a lacklustre season last year, the Hyderabad-born shuttler looks desperate for a win“I didn’t have a good season last year. So I’m desperate to win this tournament as it will boost my
confidence for the upcoming events”

Lucknow: Desperate for a much-needed win, two-time winner Saina Nehwal will be back in action at the Syed Modi international tournament, while defending champion Parupalli Kashyap will eye another victory when the Grand Prix Gold event begins with the qualifiers today.After a lacklustre season last year, in which she was plagued by injuries and failed to win a single title and her world ranking also took a beating, Saina now starts as a top seed in a field that has 16 other Indians.

Saina’s best chance to  end title drought is here

Among foreign shuttlers, world number 18 Lindaweni Fanetri of Indonesia and world number 39 Xuan Deng of China will be the top challengers.”I didn’t have a good season last year. So I’m really looking for a win now. I’m desperate to win this tournament. It will boost my confidence for the upcoming events,” Saina told PTI.

In the last edition, the 23-year-old had conceded her first round match, citing injury and fatigue. The girl from Hyderabad has not played in the Senior Nationals since 2007 and last month, she had to skip the Nationals once again as she was down with cold and cough.

The London Olympics bronze medallist, who is currently ranked No.8 in the world, will open her campaign against Matilda Petersen of Sweden on Wednesday. Even though she has not been in the best of form, the road ahead should be an easy one for Saina.

Seeded Second in the draw is P V Sindhu and the lanky 18-year-old shuttler is likely to pose the biggest threat to Saina’s hopes of winning the title, which she had clinched in 2009 and 2010.Last edition’s runners-up, Sindhu will start her campaign against Malaysian Li Lian Yang, who is ranked 108 in the world. Given the form, the world championship bronze medallist is right now, Sindhu is likely to reach the finals without much ado.

The women’s singles will also include top Indian names like former national champion Sayali Gokhale, National Games gold medallist Arundhati Pantawane, Trupti Murgunde and Thulasi PC.In the men’s singles, defending champion Kashyap will look to clinch the title one more time when he opens his campaign against former national champion Anup Sridhar.
Kashyap, who had skipped the season-opening Korea Open due to shoulder injury, is likely to face some stiff competition from compatriots Ajay Jayaram, seeded second, and national champion and sixth seed K Srikanth.

Grouped in the second half of the draw, World number 22 Jayaram will open his season in the Syed Modi GPG after skipping Super Series tournaments in Korea and Malaysia.All eyes will be on 20-year-old Srikanth, who has been in red hot form for the last one year, winning titles in Thailand and Senior Nationals in New Delhi. He also reached the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Super Series Premier last week.

Among others in men singles, third seed RMV Gurusaidutt, fourth seed Anand Pawar, seventh seed H S Prannoy, eight seed Sourabh Varma and 11th seed Sai Praneeth B are also in the fray.In the women’s doubles, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will meet third seed Malaysian pair of Amelia Alicia Anscelly and Fie Cho Soong, while Ashwini will combine with Tarun Kona to face Indian combo of Vinay Kumar Singh and Asaji Gauri in the opening round of mixed doubles.

Among others, Pradnya Gadre and Siki Reddy N will take on the Thai pair of Chanida Julrattanamanee and Natcha Saengchote in another women’s doubles match, while Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan will be up against Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya in the mixed doubles.

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