Indian stars Saina Nehwal and P. Kashyap will find it very difficult to justify their ranking the $200,000 India Open Super Series badminton championship which starts at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.
Saina, ranked second in the world, opens her campaign against Indonesian Balaetrix Manupati. In the second round, she faces the winner of the match featuring Japanese Yui Hashimoto and Singapore’s Xing Aiying. A second victory for Saina sets up an intriguing clash with compatriot P.V. Sindhu, ranked 16th in the world and seeded eighth here. However, Sindhu, who beat former World No. 1 Wang Shixian last week, will have to beat one or two lesser-known Chinese girls before facing Saina.
Asked about the prospect of playing Sindhu, Saina said, “It will be an interesting match. Two Indian girls have hardly played each other in big international events.
For Kashyap, who faces the 2004 Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in the opening round, going past World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in their prospective quarterfinal-clash looks highly improbable.
Assuming that Kashyap, ranked seventh in the world, pulls off his maiden victory over the Indonesian, it is difficult to imagine Lee Chong Wei letting the Indian into the semifinals.
With Ajay Jayaram due to face eighth-seeded Japanese Sho Sasaki and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt drawn to face Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto in their first round matches, a surprise or two cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, the decision of the Badminton World Federation to advance the world ranking date, for determining the players’ eligibility for the World Championships this August, has resulted in the last-minute withdrawal of two men’s seeds from the India Open Super Series.
Second seeded Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro, eight seed Sho Sasaki from Japan and Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov have withdrawn from the competition. In the women’s section, seventh seeded Chinese Jiang Yanjiao has stayed away.