World number seven P. Kashyap will take on former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in the first round of the India Open Super Series badminton championship to be played here at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium from April 23 to 28.
Kashyap, seeded five in the premier meet, should fancy his chances since the temperamental Indonesian has slumped to 26th in World rankings owing to poor form.
In December, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist had lost to little-known 18-year-old Pratul Joshi in the first round of the Syed Modi Grand Prix tournament at Lucknow.
Should Kashyap advance to the second round, he faces the winner of the match between Thailand’s Suppanyu Avhingsanon and a qualifier. Another win for Kashyap will make him part of a possible clash with World number one Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei.
World number two Saina Nehwal, the ladies’ top seed, will be looking to break the hoodoo of winning a Super Series title before the home crowd. She faces Indonesian Manupati Belaetrix in the opening round.
Saina described the draw as “tough” and said she was preparing hard to win before her home fans.
Since World number 16 P.V. Sindhu is also in the same half of the draw as Saina, an all-India quarterfinal cannot be ruled out.
However, the eighth seeded Sindhu has two Chinese girls in her quarter of the draw. Sindhu faces 84th ranked Xue Yao, this year’s Malaysian Open finalist in the first round.
A win here will set up her encounter with the winner of the match involving China’s Sun Yu, ranked 83rd and Singapore’s Juan Gu, last year’s Macau Open champion.
Meanwhile, in the singles qualifying draws, Indian men occupy 12 out of 16 places and the women almost monopolise their draw, holding 15 out of 16 spots.
Four qualify to the main draw from each section.
The draw (involving India’s singles players in the main draw, prefix denotes seeding): Men: 5-P. Kashyap vs Taufik Hidayat (Ina); R.M.V. Gurusaidatt vs Tommy Sugiarto (Ina); Ajay Jayaram vs 8-Sho Sasaki (Jpn); Anand Pawar vs Takuma Ueda (Jpn); Saurabh Verma vs Qualifier; B. Sai Praneeth vs Kento Momota (Jpn).
Women: 1-Saina Nehwal vs Manupati Belaetrix (Ina); 8-P.V. Sindhu vs Xue Yao (Chn); Arundhati Pantawane vs Sapsiree Taerattanchai (Tha); P.C. Thulasi vs 6-Eriko Hirose (Jpn); Tanvi Lad vs Qualifier.