Saina to lead Indian challenge

Rejuvenated after a one and a half month break following the India Badminton League, defending champion Saina Nehwal will now eye her maiden title of the season when she competes at the $400,000 Denmark Super Series Premier which begins with the qualifiers here on Tuesday.

It won’t be an easy ride as Saina is likely to face World No 6 Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea in the quarters and if she keeps her 4-0 record intact then she is expected to be up against top seed Chinese Li Xuerui, who will start her campaign against India’s Arundhati Pantawane.

Another Indian in women’s singles, World Championships bronze medallist P V Sindhu will face a difficult opponent in World No. 17 Eriko Hirose of Japan in the first round.

In men’s singles, World No 14 P Kashyap, who is coming back from an ankle injury, will take on the World No 16 Darren Liew of Malaysia in his opener.

Star doubles player Jwala Gutta will miss out here after being embroiled in a legal battle with the BAI over a life ban she has been threatened with for alleged “disciplinary breach”. Jwala was to partner Ashwini in this event.

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