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 Mogensen are 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.