On cloud nine after her win at the Malaysia Masters, P V Sindhu will now train her guns on Syed Modi International championships, even as Indian ace Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap will look to defend their respective women’s and men’s titles in the Grand Prix Gold event, starting with the qualifiers.
Two-time bronze medallist at World Championship, Sindu made a rollicking start to the new season with a Grand Prix Gold title at Malaysia Masters yesterday, and the Indian will be keen to continue her rampaging run when she opens her campaign against a qualifier.
While Sindhu has been in red-hot form, defending champions Saina and Kashyap were left to address some fitness issues in the run-up to the USD 120,000 tournament, which will be held at BBD, UP Badminton Academy from January 26 to 31.
Saina was nursing a foot injury, while Kashyap was busy regaining his full fitness after torning his calf muscle during the French Open last year in October.
While Saina and Kashyap turned up for Awadhe Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters at the Premier badminton League (PBL), their performance was not up to the mark.
The World No. 2 Indian will take on Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the opening round, while Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap will face Spain’s Pablo Abian first up.
In the women’s singles, the likes of fourth seed Bae Yeon Ju, fifth seed Sayaka Sato and sixth seed Yui Hashimoto will be seen in action but one player who both Saina and Sindhu will be wary of is second seed Sung Ji Hyun of Korea.
2010 Commonwealth Games Champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, seeded sixth, will open against England’s Heather Olver and Lauren Smith in women’s doubles, which will also have many new Indian pairs competing in the field.
In men’s singles, last year’s finalist and this year’s top seed K Srikanth had his bit of ups and downs in the previous season but the Indian reached the semifinals at Penang last year and he too will be itching to get a title under his belt. He will start his campaign against Iran’s Vatannejad-Soroush Eskandari.
After going through a tough injury phase, RMV Gurusaidutt also had a decent stint at the PBL and the Hyderabad lad will look to have a good outing in the event, where he faces Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in the opening round.
Fifth seed H S Prannoy will start this new international season with a clash against China’s Huang Yuxiang, while B Sai Praneeth will take on Iran’s Farzin Khanjani.
Among other Indians, Shreyansh Jaiswal will be up against China’s Qiao Bin, while Pratul Joshi will meet Scotland’s Alistair Casey, Harsheel Dani will take on Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, Subhankar Dey will face ninth seed Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei, Abhishek Yelegar will clash with Czech Petr Koukal and Siddharath Thakur will meet Shi Yuqi of China.
Anand Pawar, sixth seed Ajay Jayaram and Aditya Joshi will face qualifiers in the opening round of main draw.
In men’s doubles, Mexico open winner Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face fourth seeds Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol of Korea.
Among others, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar, K Nandagopal and Shlok Ramchandran will also be in the fray in men’s doubles.
In mixed doubles, Manu Attri and Ashwini Ponnappa will pair up against Japan’s Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara in the opening round.