Saina, Srikanth Lead Challenge

Published: 24th March 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2015 04:07 AM   |  A+A-

K Srikanth

NEW DELHI: Summer is yet to reach its peak but the heat is likely to be extensive in the national capital as top international shuttlers, including India’s Saina Nehwal, look to claim the top prize in the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series which gets underway at the Siri Fort complex here on Tuesday.

It was just about two weeks ago that Saina put up a praiseworthy performance in the All England championship, before going down to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the all-important final. A rematch is on the cards as the duo has been seeded one and two, respectively.

Saina will face a qualifier in the opening round and has a likely meeting against national champion G Ruthvika Shivani in the third. Marin, meanwhile, will start off against India’s Rituparna Das.

Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, the 2013 winner, will be another star to watch out for. The 2013 world champion will kick-start her campaign against India’s Saili Rane.

Apart from the title and prize money that comes along with it, the World No 1 ranking is also up for grabs for both Saina and Marin. The one who goes furthest will take that crown.

Buoyed after recent success in the Swiss Open, Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian challenge in men’s singles. However, the second seed faces a tricky opener against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and could go on to meet Kento Momota of Japan, who got the better of him in the All England Championship.

Top seed Jan O Jorgensen will be up against Japan’s Sho Sasaki. There is a high possibility of an all-Danish quarterfinal clash against upcoming star and World No 6 Viktor Axelsen.

Chinese legend Lin Dan will look to woo the crowd as he makes his first appearance in India. The two-time Olympic champion will seek to add one more title to his illustrious career. The third seeded veteran will open his account against Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap will face Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao, while Indonesia GP Gold winner HS Prannoy takes on Israel’s Misha Zilberman.

In paired events, defending men’s doubles champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen and mixed doubles holders Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen have been given top billing. The Danes will face stiff competition from the Chinese and Koreans. For the hosts, all eyes will be on Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa and national champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.

Players to watch

Lin Dan: The badminton legend will make his bow in India and nothing short of a happy triumph will do for the Chinese Dragon.

Kidambi Srikanth: After his Swiss Open success, the Guntur lad will look to add another feather to his cap, which includes a win over the ultimate competitor, Lin Dan.

Jan o Jorgensen: The German Open winner is the top seed here and he will look to take advantage of his seeding to push into the latter stages and better his previous best finish, a semifinal appearance last year.

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