Sindhu, Saina, Srikanth among favourites at India Open

January 31 2018

P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will be among the  favourites in the men's and women's singles categories at the $350,000  India Open World Tour Super 500 starting here on Wednesday.

With  the top-ranked shuttlers in the two categories, Denmark's Viktor Axelsen  and Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-Ying, skipping the tournament,  expectations will be higher from the Indians since they will play in  front of the home crowd at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

World  No.12 Saina is coming into the tournament after a runner-up finish in  Indonesia Masters on Sunday. In Jakarta last week, she defeated  higher-ranked opponents like No.3 Sindhu, No.4 Ratchanok Intanon of  Thailand and No.8 Chinese Chen Yufei before going down to Tai.

"My  aim is stay fit, to train hard and give my best," Saina said at the  pre-tournament press conference. She was surprised to be reported among  the contenders.

"I am not resting on one result," the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Championship medallist added.

The  Hyderabadi will open her campaign against Denmark' Sofie Dahl and fifth  seed Beiwen Zhang will be her likely opponent in the quarter-finals.

Sindhu will meet Natalia Koch Rohde in the first round on Wednesday.

"I  know there will be a lot of expectations from me after last year's  success. But this is a fresh challenge. Each round will be equally  tough. My approach will be to approach each match as it comes," Sindhu  said.

Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain will be a heavy favourite, apart from former world champion Ratchanok.

The  India men's campaign will be spearheaded by Srikanth, who will meet  Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu in the first round, while H.S. Prannoy will  face local qualifier Shreyansh Jaiswal on Wednesday.

Srikanth is  the top-seeded shuttler after Axelsen pulled out. Chinese Taipei's Chou  Tien Chen is seeded second. Also missing are veterans Lee Chong Wei of  Malaysia and Lin Dan of China. Chinese big gun Chen Long is also not  competing in the event.

Eighth seed B. Sai Praneeth will meet  Rajiv Ouseph of England while Parupalli Kashyap will come up against  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark.

Ajay Jayaram will face Indonexian Tommy Sugiarto, Sameer Verma will face Danish seventh seed Anders Antonsen.

The experienced men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will face Adarsh Kumar and Jagadish Yadav.

The  young pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will meet Hong  Kong's Chang Tak Ching and Hee Chun Mak in the opening round.

Indonesians  Marcus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have been seeded first  while Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensenare seeded second.

In  the women's doubles, India's hopes are on sixth seeds Ashwini Ponnappa  and N. Sikki Reddy, who will face local qualifiers Shenan Christian and  Riya Gajjar in the opening round.

India's Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S. Ram are seeded seventh and there will be expectations from them.

Danish  top seeds Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen and Thailand's  second seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai are heavy  favourites in this category.

Sikki will pair up with Pranaav Jerry Chopra in the mixed doubles while Ashwini will join hands with Satwik.

Satwik-Ashwini  will meet local qualifiers Raju Mohamed Rehan and J. Anees Kowsar in  the opening round while eighth seeds Pranaav-Chopra will open their  campaign against Indonesian Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.

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