Tough draw for rest in France
Still looking for her maiden title this season, India ace shuttler Saina Nehwal would be keen to put her best foot forward at the French Super Series even as the rest of Indians face a tough draw in the badminton tournament, which begins with the qualifiers here on Tuesday.
After failing to defend her title at Denmark Open last week, Saina will now open her campaign at the French Open against Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapon on Wednesday.
The Indian had been in good form at the Indian Badminton League (IBL) and though she looked to be in good touch for most part of the tournament, Saina could not prevent a quarterfinal exit in the Denmark Open, her first event since the IBL.
World No.10 P V Sindhu also exited the Denmark Open early after her gallant fight against Japan’s Eriko Hirose ended with a straight-game defeat.
But at the Stade Pierre De Coubertin, it will a bigger challenge when Sindhu faces sixth seed Korean Ji Hyun Sung, who had ended Saina’s run at Denmark.
In the men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap will clash with top seed and World No.1, Lee Chong Wei, while World No.25 Ajay Jayaram will meet Kazumasa Sakai of Japan in the opening round. World No. 24, RMV Gurusaidutt will also face a tricky Chinese in Chen Yuekun, ranked 29th, in the first round.
Jwala makes a comeback
Meanwhile, it will also be a comeback tournament for Jwala Gutta, who has been living under the threat of a life ban by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) following an alleged discipline breach at the IBL.
After missing the Denmark Open, it will be the first tournament where Jwala will renew her partnership with Ashwini Ponnappa.
Ashwini will again pair up with Tarun Kona to take on Scotland’s Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier in the mixed doubles competition.
In the qualifiers, Arundhati Pantawane will be up against Taiwan’s Ching Chieh Tai in women’s singles, while in the men’s singles, H S Prannoy will take on Andre Kurniawan Tedjono, Anand Pawar face Brice Leverdez of France, K Srikanth have to fight it out with Scott Evans, while Sourabh Verma need to get it across Dong Leun Lee today.PTI
I am in good form… I am looking forward to the French Open, where I had finished as runners up. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I will give my best and hope to do well