Saina returns to action at Hong Kong Open

New Delhi: After skipping the China Super Series Premier last week because of a knee problem, Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal will now be back in action at the Hong Kong Open which begins tomorrow.

The world number three Saina, who recently won Denmark Super Series Premier and reached the final of French Open last month, will take on Aprilla Yuswandari in her campaign opener in the women`s singles. The 22-year-old had beaten the Indonesian twice in the past.

Saina is likely to face seventh seed Yanjiao Jiang in the quarterfinals. The Chinese has always troubled Saina and holds a 5-0 record against the Indian.

The girl from Hyderabad has also been clubbed with some tough players in the second half of the draw, including second seed and Olympic champion Xuerui Li of China, two-time All England champion Tine Baun and Eriko Hirose.

The 2010 champion, Saina has won three titles -- Thailand Open, Indonesia Open and Denmark Open -- this year, besides winning the London Olympics bronze medal.

Rising Indian shuttler P V Sindhu, who is also in the second half of the draw, will open her campaign against Belaetrix Manuputi in another women`s singles match at Hong Kong Coliseum at Kowloon.

In the men`s singles, Ajay Jayaram will face Chinese Zhengming Wang in the first round. The Chinese had beaten Parupalli Kashyap in the quarterfinals of the China Open last week.

World number 23 Kashyap, who also reached the quarterfinals of the London Olympics, will be up against seventh seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.

In mixed doubles, Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre will take on sixth seed Indonesian pair of Fran Kurniawan and Shendy Puspa Irawati, while Arun and Aparna Balan will meet Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili of Indonesia.

In women`s doubles, Aparna and Siki will challenge the second seeds Xiaoli Wang and Yang Yu in another match.

Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on top seed Chen Xu and Jin Ma of China in mixed doubles, Pranaav Chopra and Siki Reddy will be up against American combo of Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi.

Another men`s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu will take on Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis of England.

In the qualifiers today, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B reached the main draw of the men`s doubles competition after prevailing 21-13 13-21 21-15 over Hong Kong`s Chun hei Lee and Ka Long Ng.

However, it was curtains for young shuttlers Sai Praneeth and RMV Gurusaidutt as they lost their second round matches in the men`s singles qualifiers.


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