`Doubly difficult` task for India in Uber Cup prelims

New Delhi: Ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta will have an uphill task of inspiring the Indian women team when they open their campaign in the Uber Cup (Asia Zone) badminton tournament at Macau on Monday.

India, who had reached the knockout stage in 2010, have been handed a tough draw as they are clubbed with the mighty Chinese and Malaysia in group W.

India play Malaysia tomorrow and even if Saina and the doubles pair of Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa win their respective matches, India would still need to pull off at least one more match out of the two singles and one doubles.

National champion PV Sindhu is likely to play the second singles, while Sayali Gokhale is expected to feature in the third.

In the doubles, it would be a choice between senior national champion pair of Pradnya Gadre and Prajakta Sawant and the runner-up duo of Aparna Balan and N Sikki Reddy.

Jwala admitted that it would be "doubly difficult" for India to make the knockouts.

"We had created history in the last edition when we reached the knockout stage but this time it would be tough. China, Malaysia in the group and I won`t lie, it would be doubly difficult but I believe in being positive and I`m looking forward to the event," said Jwala.

"Saina (Nehwal) will play the first singles and me and Ashwini (Ponnappa) will play the first doubles and I am focussing on taking out my match.

"China is a top-ranked team and they have top-ranked players in doubles as well. It is not going to be easy but we have a brave team with lots of young players and it can help. I can just say, we will go full throttle with a positive mindset," she added.