Saina Nehwal looks for late flourish
Hong Kong: More than a year has passed by since Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal won a title and the Olympic bronze medallist will now eyes a late flourish when she begins her campaign at the Hong Kong Super Series on Wednesday to end the troubled season on a high.
Battling poor form, Saina will once again resume her hunt for the first title of the season at the USD 350,000 event, which she had won three years ago.
The last title that Saina won was Denmark Open in October 2012.
The seventh seeded Indian will open her campaign against Indonesia`s Bellaetrix Manuputty in the women`s singles competition at Hong Kong Coliseum in Kowloon.
The 23-year-old had a difficult season as she grappled with injuries and inconsistent form. The Indian had bowed out of the second round of China Open last week after suffering a defeat against unseeded Sun Yu of China.
The world number seven Indian will take on either Eriko Hirose of Japan or Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the second round once she cross the first hurdle.
If she manages to win the second round, world number one Li Xuerui is likely to wait for her in the quarterfinals.
Other Indian in the women`s singles competition is P V Sindhu and the world No. 10 will face second seeded Thai Ratchanok Intanon, who had beaten her in the world championship in China in August this year.
In men`s singles, Parupalli Kashyap will take on Zhengming Wang of China, while Ajay Jayaram will cross swords with seventh seed Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam and K Srikanth will have an uphill climb against top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
In men`s doubles competition, Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will have an unenviable task of taming the top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
Mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tarun Kona will be up against seventh seeds Praveen Jordan and Vita Marissa of Indonesia.
In the qualifiers, Anand Pawar will take on local shuttler Nan Wei, while Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will enjoy some time off as they have already got a bye in the first round of the women`s doubles qualification round.
Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B will also test their skills when they take on local pair of Fernando Kurniawan and Shing Choi Yeung in men`s doubles qualification.