Saina leads Indian challenge at Indonesia Super Series
Jakarta: Three-time champion Saina Nehwal, who is coming from a break, will look to renew her love affair with Indonesia when she leads the Indian challenge in the USD 750,000 BCA Indonesia Superseries Premier starting with the qualifiers here tomorrow.
A winner of the tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Saina will hope to hold on to her new-found confidence and form which took India to their historic bronze in the Uber Cup tournament last month.
The 23-year-old Indian has been struggling for the last one-and-a-half year with just one title to show in the form of India Grand Prix Gold in January. However, she won all her matches in the Uber Cup to help India`s cause.
Eighth seed Saina, who skipped Japan Open last week to recover from a hectic Uber Cup, will open her campaign here against World No. 9 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. The Indian star has beaten the Thai girl six times but she lost to her in their last encounter.
Another Indian P V Sindhu, who skipped the Japan Open, will also be in action in Indonesia but she will have to raise her game if she has to reach further in the tournament as she plays third seed Yihan Wang of China in the opening round.
The Chinese has beaten Sindhu twice, while the Indian had edged her out during her historic bronze medal feat in Guangzhou, China last year.
Indonesia Open is the seventh event on the 12-tournament calendar and players will be hoping for a strong showing in Jakarta to improve their chances of qualifying for the richly-rewarding Dubai finale.
Former world number six, Parupalli Kashyap and Thailand Open winner K Srikanth will also hope to forget their first round exit at Japan and put up a good show this week.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Kashyap will be up against World No. 4 Kenechi Tago in his opener. The Indian had beaten him once during 2013 All England Championship but the Japanese have defeated him twice.
World No. 13 Srikanth, will play a qualifier on Wednesday at the Istora Gelora BBung Karno Stadium.
Among others, Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on Indonesian duo of Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta in women`s doubles competition.
In the qualifiers tomorrow, H S Prannoy and Sourabh Varma will be seen in action. Tarun Kona and Ashwini too will be playing the mixed doubles qualifiers to seek an entry into the main draw.
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