Rejuvenated after a one and half month break following the IBL, defending champion Saina Nehwal will now eye her maiden title of the season when she competes at the $400,000 Denmark Super Series Premier which begins with the qualifiers here on Tuesday.
“I am the defending champion in Denmark. It will be tough but I am ready for the challenge of defending the title,” Saina told PTI.
“I have been in good form in the IBL. I will give my 100 per cent and I hope to do well in Denmark,” added the fourth seeded Indian, who will open her campaign against Bulgaria’s Stefani Stoeva, ranked 58 in World, on Wednesday.
The World number four Indian was in supreme form in the inaugural IBL as she finished the tournament unbeaten, having won all seven of her matches.
She skipped a few tournaments after that to shake off the tiredness and has now regained her strength to compete with the best.
“After the IBL, I was tired but I had a good break and I trained hard for the last one and half months and I am fit now,” Saina said.
The 23-year-old has not been in the best of form this season and also had some injury concerns and it reflected in her performance as she could only manage quarterfinals and semifinals. So, if she can defend the crown here, it would be her first title of the year.
It won’t be an easy ride as Saina is likely to face World No. 6 Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea in the quarters and if she keeps her 4-0 record intact then she is expected to be up against top seed Chinese Li Xuerui, who will start her campaign against India’s Arundhati Pantawane.
Another Indian in women’s singles, World Championships bronze medallist P V Sindhu will face a difficult opponent in World No. 17 Eriko Hirose of Japan in the first round.
If the world number 10 Indian can get past her, Sindhu is likely to face World No. 2 and World Champion Intanon Ratchanok of Thailand in the quarterfinals.
National chief coach Pullela Gopichand’s advise to his wards is to not look at the draw and play freely.