New Delhi: In the absence of top Chinese shuttlers, Indian ace Saina Nehwal has been seeded number one and handed a relatively easy draw in the upcoming Yonex Sunrise Indian Open badminton tournament, scheduled to be held here from April 23-28.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist will open her campaign against unseeded Belaetrix Manuputi of Indonesia in the women`s singles event. She had beaten her comfortably in the All England Badminton pre-quarterfinals last month.
The Hyderabadi is not likely to be challenged much in the first two rounds but may face some threat from compatriot P V Sindhu, who is seeded eighth in the competition.
If Saina overcomes that hurdle, her first real test could be against world no. 8, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semifinals.
Intanon, seeded third, had recently beaten Saina in the semifinals of the All England Championships.
Meanwhile, in the men`s singles event, top Indian Parupalli Kashyap has got a tough draw.
The world No. 8 will be facing former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the very first round.
But if the Indian Olympian, who is seeded fifth in the tournament, manages to get past Hidayat, he is likely to have an easy second round.
However, in the quarterfinals, the Indian could be taking on world no. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
Other Indians in the fray in the men`s singles event are RMV Gurusaidutt, Ajay Jayaram, Anand Pawar, Sourabh Varma and B Sai Praneeth.
While Gurusaidutt will be playing Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in his opening round, Jayaram would take on eighth seeded Sho Sasaki of Japan.
Anand Pawar, Sourabh Varma and B Sai Praneeth are expected to cross the first round hurdle without much trouble.
In women`s doubles, Jwala Gutta will pair up with Prajakta Sawant, while Ashwini Ponnappa will be playing alongside Pradnya Gadre.