New Delhi: In the absence of Saina Nehwal, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist P Kashyap will spearhead India`s challenge in the season-opening Malaysian Open Super Series badminton tournament starting in Kuala Lumpur.
Still recovering from her ankle injury, world number four Saina, who won five major titles -- including three super series -- last year, has opted out as she does not want to aggravate her condition. The 20-year-old, however, will be seen in action again in the Korean Open later this month.
In the men`s singles, Kashyap, who finished runners-up in the Senior National Championship early this month, will look to start his international season on a positive note when he takes on Yun Hu of Hong Kong in the first round of the main
After a rather disappointing season last year, Chetan Anand will also be looking to get his old touch back when he takes on Kazushi Yamada of Japan in his first round encounter.
But all eyes will also be on the Commonwealth Gold medallist combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa as the Indian pair will be up against fifth seeds Jing Du and Pan Pan in the opening round.
The experienced doubles player Jwala will then combine with V Diju to lock horns with Johannes Schoettler and Sandra Marinello of Germany in the first round of the mixed doubles.
Among others, India`s Anand Pawar will take on Yong Zhao Ashton Chen of Singapore and Ajay Jayaram will meet a formidable opponent in Indonesia`s Tommy Sugiarto in the qualifier tomorrow.