India is likely to dominate all the five events in the $1,20,000 Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix gold badminton championships commencing at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
Of the five categories — men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles — Indians are seeded No. 1 in three.
The Malaysian doubles pair of Fairuzizuan Mohammad and Zakry Abdul Latif Mohammad and the Singapore doubles duo of Lei Yao and Shina Mulia Sari are the top seeds in the men's and women's doubles.
With most of the top players preferring to skip the Chennai event to play in higher category tournaments like the Super Series in Singapore and Indonesia, the championship has provided the Indians a wonderful opportunity to get valuable WBF ranking points and a major chunk of the prize money.
Focus on Saina, Chetan
The focus, though, will be on Saina Nehwal and Chetan Anand, the top seeds in men's and women's singles respectively.
There should be no Indian challenge for Saina, as she herself said the other day. The second seed Chew Wong Mew of Malaysia will be the toughest to beat.
India's Aditi Mutatkar, Sayali Gokhale and Trupti Murgunde, seeded third, sixth and seventh, should be itching to prove everyone wrong.
Saina has had an amazing year, so far reaching the semifinals of both the All England Super Series, the Badminton Asia championship and guiding India to the knockout stages of the Uber Cup. Saina has said she is capable of raising the bar. “I can reach the No.1 spot”, she said.
Chetan top seed
Though Chetan Anand is the top seed in the men's section, it would be a tough ride for the reigning National champion. P. Kashyap, Arvind Bhat, Anup Sridhar, Anand Pawar, Guru Sai Dutt and Ajay Jayaram are all injury-free, high on confidence and are not afraid of reputations.
“I haven't played any competition since injuring my (right) knee in March end. I am looking at one match at a time,” said Chetan, who couldn't play the Thomas Cup finals in May due to the injury.
Malaysian Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, the second seed, will be a real threat to the Indians.
The 27-year-old, an All-England champion in 2003, hasn't won any big tournaments since, but finished runner-up in the India Open in Hyderabad last year, reached the quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia championship in New Delhi and the semifinals of the German Open Grand Prix this year.
It would be unwise to take him lightly.
Jwala Gutta and V. Diju, the top-seeded pair in mixed doubles, should have it easy. The championships, by all indications, will turn out to be a good harvest for the Indians.
The qualifiers in the women's singles (all Indians): Jui Agaskar, Juhi Dewangan, Sanyogita Ghorpade , Mohita Sehdev.
Keywords: Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix