New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal`s bid to win the All England Championship received a big boost today with fierce rivals Wang Yihan of China and Tine Baun of Denmark pulling out of the Superseries tournament in Birmingham on Tuesday.
Two-time champion, Tine and former world number one Wang
today withdrew from the bottom half of the draw, paving the
way for fifth-seed Saina, who would be returning to action
after a four-week break.
Tine, who had suffered a heel injury three weeks ago,
aggravated her pain after participating at the European team
Championship in Amsterdam last month and decided to skip the
All England to be fit for the Olympic qualification which
begins next month.
Saina, who had suffered a ligament injury at the fag end
of a successful 2010, had made an unsuccessful return in the
Korean Open in January this year where she was ousted in the
second round by Japan`s Sayaka Sato.
However, Saina, who is in the second half of the
draw, will now fancy her chances of at least reaching the
finals of All England -- considered the grandslam of
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist will, however, face
tough challenge from the Chinese shuttlers like top seed Wang
Shixian, third seed Wang Xin, whom she would meet once she
manages to reach the finals.
Only nine days short of turning 21, Saina will take on
Korean Seung Hee Bae in the first round and though she is not
likely to face a tough challenge, the Indian should trade
carefully considering she is short of match practice.
In the men`s singles, P Kashyap will open his campaign
against Marc Zwiebler of Germany in the main draw tomorrow.
Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will carry Indian flag in the
men`s double, taking on Malaysian pair of Teik Chai Gan and
Bin Shen Tan.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and
Ashwini Ponnappa will meet Dane combo of Maria Helsbol and
Anne Skelbaek in their opening match.
Jwala will also pair up with V Diju to fight it out
against Korean pair of Yeon Seong Yoo and Min Jung Kim in the
mixed doubles category.