Easy draw for Saina at Asian Games

New Delhi: Going by current form and the draw, India`s badminton star Saina Nehwal should have little difficulty in making the women`s singles semifinals at the Asian Games at Guangzhou, China, starting November 12.

Other Indian players, however, will have a tough time right from the first round.

India won two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze at the Commonwealth Games, but repeating the feat at the Asian Games will be a tough ask. They will have to reckon with powerhouse China who will be in full force.

World No.3 Saina and the gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games, is seeded second and has a bye in the first round. Saina could face Hong Kong`s Pui Yin Yip, sixth seed, in the quarterfinal. She is likely to encounter her first Chinese opponent only in the semifinals, possibly third seeded Shixian Wang.

The other women`s singles player Aditi Mutatkar may face fourth-seeded Eriko Hirose of Japan in the second round as she is expected to beat her first-round opponent Thilini Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka.

In the men`s singles, Chetan Anand will open against Sri Lankan Niluka Karunaratne in the first round and may face sixth-seeded Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the next round.

Parupalli Kashyap, who emerged India`s star player at the Commonwealth Games with singles bronze, will take on world No. 9 Vietnam`s Tien Minh Nguyen, seeded fifth, in the first round.

World No.1 Malaysian Lee Chong Wei and China`s Lin Dan are seeded one and two respectively in men`s singles.

In the men`s doubles, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will face top-seeded Malaysian Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan.

India`s women`s pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who won the doubles gold at the Commonwealth Games, meet Thailand`s Savitree Amitrapai and P. Munkitchokecharoen in the first round. However, they are expected to run into second seeded Chinese Shu Cheng and Yunlei Zhao in the next round.

In mixed doubles, Gutta and V Diju, seeded fourth, have got a bye in the first round.

In the men`s team event, India will open against Chinese Taipei. If they win they will meet third seeded Indonesia in the second round.

The women`s team will face Indonesia first and is likely to take on fourth seeded Chinese Taipei in the next round. China is the top seed in both men`s and women`s team event.

IANS

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