Two-time winner Saina Nehwal eyes Swiss Open title

Last Updated: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 18:44

Basel: Ace Indian shuttler and two-time champion Saina Nehwal would look to put behind the disappointment of last week`s All England Championship and train her eyes on the USD 125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold which gets underway at St Jakobshalle here tomorrow.

Saina, the London Olympic bronze medallist, had clinched the title in 2011 and 2012 and the Indian will look for a repeat performance when she starts her campaign against a qualifier in the women`s singles competition on Wednesday.

Seeded sixth, Saina, who had reached the semifinals last year, is coming into the tournament after crashing out in the quarterfinals of the All England Open in Birmingham, UK last week.

The 23-year-old Indian is likely to face world number one and top seed Yihan Wang in the quarterfinals if she manages to cross the first two rounds here.

It was at the London Olympics where Saina had faced Yihan last time. The Chinese had retired from the play-off because of a knee injury, thus paving the way for the Indian to win the coveted bronze.

However, Saina holds a rather unimpressive 1-6 record against Yihan and she will have to play out of her skin if she has to cross the last eight stage.

World No. 9 P V Sindhu too will be eager to get over her forgettable All England debut when she plays in the Swiss Open. Her first round opponent Beatriz Corrales of Spain has already withdrawn and the Hyderabadi is likely to sail into the quarterfinals.

The World Championship bronze medallist, Sindhu is seeded seventh and is likely to face the newly-crowned All England Champion Shixian Wang in the quarterfinals.

Seeded third, Shixian has been in red-hot form as she defeated Saina, Yihan and Olympic champion Li Xuerui in straight games in the quarters, semis and finals en route to the All England title.

Sindhu, however, will take inspiration from her 2-0 record against the former World No. 1 during their last two encounters last year. Shixian will open her campaign against India`s Saili Rane, the only other Indian in the main draw of women`s singles.

In the men`s singles category, Parupalli Kashyap, seeded third, will begin his campaign against Holland`s Erik Meijs and is likely to advance into the quarterfinal without much ado.

The World No. 18 Indian had played a three-game match against Kenechi Tago where he lost from a game and 10-7 up in the first round of All England and Kashyap will look to make amends for his showing at Swiss Open here.

Kashyap is likely to face sixth seed Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

Thailand Open winner Kidambi Srikanth, seeded fifth, will be up against World No. 42 Henri Hurskainen, while Mumbai`s Anand Pawar will meet Malaysia`s Kok Pong Loke.

In the women`s doubles, Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will start their campaign in the main draw after receiving a direct qualification.

Ashwini will also pair up with Tarun Kona in the mixed doubles, while Tarun will combine with Jishnu Sanyal to compete in the men`s doubles qualification.

PTI

First Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 18:44

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