Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth now eye Malaysia crown
Newly-crowned India Open champions, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will look to continue their fairytale run as they eye another podium finish at the USD 500,000 Malaysia Open Super Series Premier which gets underway with the qualifiers here tomorrow.
Kuala Lumpur: Newly-crowned India Open champions, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will look to continue their fairytale run as they eye another podium finish at the USD 500,000 Malaysia Open Super Series Premier which gets underway with the qualifiers here tomorrow.
Left with hardly any time to celebrate their maiden title wins at the India Super Series, Saina and Srikanth had to rush for Malaysia last night itself and the duo will look to recover quickly before starting their campaign on Wednesday in the main draw.
Set to be officially crowned the world no 1 on Thursday, Saina will start her campaign as a third seed against Indonesia's Maria Febe Kusumastuti in the opening round. The girl from Hyderabad is likely to face Thailand's Busanan Ongbumrungpan, ranked 19th, in the second round.
If Saina can produce the same magic which helped her clinch India Open then she is likely to find herself face to face with Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying, seeded seventh, in the quarterfinals.
However, the road to the podium will be tougher here as the top Chinese, including Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan, will be back in business and ready for the new World No. 1.
"In last three months, I have reached three finals, which means I am learning. I am not taking any tournament easily. Every tournament is difficult and every one will be prepared for me and I will have to be ready everytime," Saina said.
On a roll with back-to-back titles, Srikanth, on the other hand, will face 2010 Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Rajiv Ouseph of England in the first round.
The Indian will take heart from the fact that he had beaten Rajiv during the World Championship in August last year and would look to do an encore on Wednesday. A win will pit him against world no. 16 Tian Houwei of China next.
"Every win is important to me, every win motivates me, every win gives me the confidence to perform well in the next tournament," Srikanth had said last night.
Among other Indians, giant-killer H S Prannoy, who knocked out world no 2 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark in the quarterfinals last week, will be up against Ireland's Scott Evans, ranked 25th in the world. If he wins, he may face the legendary Lin Dan or Tommy Sugiarto next.
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap will be up against Korea's Lee Dong Keun in the opening round and a win will see him face off against world no 1 Chen Long.
In women's doubles, 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will face Keshya Nurvita Hanadia and Devi Tika Permatasari, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on Indonesia's Andrei Adistia and Hendra Aprida Gunawan in men's doubles.