Depleted field gives best chance for Indians to put in best

Updated: Jun 07, 2010, 20:45 PM IST

Chennai: Top Indian stars in the current team have it in them to register their best ever performances, making good of the absence of World class players who have opted out of the USD 120,000 Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix, commencing here on Wednesday.

While the main draw starts on June 9 in all five events, the women’s singles qualifying rounds will be played tomorrow at the spruced up indoor stadium.

The fact that Chetan Anand, seeded 19th, has been top seeded for the tournament has shocked even the Organising Committee.

But Indian players now preparing for the Commonwealth Games, need to consistently show positive results to get valuable ranking points.

Among the Indians in the fray in the five-event Grand Prix is Saina Nehwal, ranked world number 6, who has the best opportunity to win her first ever title on Indian soil.

Nehwal, who made it to the semis in the Asian championship in Delhi last month, had earlier failed to cash in on her chances during the Indian Open and the World Championships.

Her best effort was winning the Syed Modi Indian grand prix in December last, beating compatriot Aditi Mutatkar.

However, as per the women singles draw in the Grand Prix this week, second seeded Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia is expected to be Nehwal’s rival in the title clash. Both were quarterfinalists at the 2009 India Open.

In men’s singles, second seed Mohd Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia, a 2003 All England Champion, world ranked 21 looks to be the finalist against Chetan Anand. Like them, six other Indians seeded in top eight, have a bye into the second round. A third round entry would also a smooth affair for them having been pitted against not-so-strong compatriots as per the draw.

Despite a depleted field, the Indians can expect some stiff challenge from players from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Top seeded in men’s doubles, Malaysians Fairuzizuan Mohammed and Zarkel Abdul Latif Mohammed(ranked 14) are tipped favourites ahead of Indians Rupesh Kumar/Sonave Thomas (No.19)

In women’s doubles, Singapore’s Lei Yao and Shinta Mulla Sari (No.19) are top seeds and have to ward off strong Indian pairs like Ashwini Ponnappa/Jwala Gutta and Aparna Balan/ Shruti Kurien. However, Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiyanti (No.11) have the wherewithal to clinch the mixed doubles crown.

While the main draw commences on June 9, the women’s singles qualifying rounds will be played tomorrow at the spruced up indoor stadium where four courts are being laid.