Guangzhou (China): Saina Nehwal will begin her campaign for an elusive medal against lower-ranked Olga Golovanova in the women’s singles, while male shuttler Ajay Jayaram will look to continue his good form in the second round of the World Championships on Wednesday.
The world number three, going through a lean patch for the last nine months due to injury and bad form, has lost to many lower-ranked players such as Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri, Singapore’s Juan Gu and Japan’s Yui Hashimoto.
But after a six-week break, the Commonwealth Games champion is fully fit now and will look to seize the advantage this time as even the draw is also in her favour.
Meanwhile, Ajay Jayaram, after a stunning victory against world number 12 Wing Ki Wong yesterday, will now take on Spaniard Pablo Abian, who had beaten the Indian at the Spanish Open in 2009.
Although, Ajay had avenged his loss in Austrian International Challenge in 2010, the Indian will not take his opponent lightly in any way.
“I have played Pablo long back. He is a runner. I need to be patient especially as the shuttles are slow.I will have to create the openings before going for the attack,” Ajay told PTI. World number 12 P V Sindhu, who is making her debut at the World Championship, will open her campaign against Kaori Imabeppu of Japan. Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Grand Prix in May, had beaten the world number 32 Japanese in Japan Open last year.
Sindhu, who is coming after a break because of a knee injury, will look to get across her Japanese opponent to set up a likely clash with second seed Wang Yihan of China.
In men’s singles, world number 13 Parupalli Kashyap, who had a rather difficult match, will be up against 68th ranked Petr Koukal of Czech Republic. If he can beat him, the Indian is likely to face his Banga Beat teammate in the Indian Badminton League, sixth seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong next. In the men’s doubles, Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu will meet 15th seeds Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido of Indonesia.
It was a mixed day for China, after world number one mixed doubles pair were given a scare in the first round after dropping the first game in an intense clash.
Top-ranked Ma Jin and Xu Chen lost their opening game in Guangzhou 18-21 to unseeded Danish pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who found answers to their trademark nimble play and dynamite smashes. Xu sent back scorching returns of up to 277 kilometres per hour (172 miles), leaping in the air for his overhead shots, but the Danes held their nerve and withstood the onslaught.
The home crowd fell into a nervous quiet as the Danish pair went up 10-6 in the second, but the Chinese duo pulled it back to take the game 21-17.
A frenetic third game saw Xu nailing acrobatic shots, including one behind his back, as the crowd roared him on. The Chinese number ones eventually took victory in just under an hour, pumping their fists and shouting as they won the third game 21-13.
Reigning world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, also from China and ranked second, will step into the spotlight later Tuesday when they play Anthony Dumartheray and Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland. The Chinese pair are favourites with fans after revealing they were a couple by hugging and kissing following their victory in the Japan Super Series in 2010.
Mixed doubles third seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia beat Malaysia’s Jian Guo Ong and Yin Loo Lim 21-14, 21-11 in their first-round match Tuesday. The Indonesians are serious challengers for the title after winning three of the four Super Series they have taken part in this year.
Fourth seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen from Denmark went through, trouncing Ukraine’s Valeriy Atrashchenkov and Anna Kobceva 21-4, 21-6. But fifth-ranked Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia went out to Koreans Kim Ki-Jung and Jung Kyung-Eun, losing 18-21, 19-21.