Tough draw for Indians

Last Updated 22 September 2014, 19:14 IST

Indian shuttlers were handed a punishing draw in the badminton competition of the Asian Games with each needing to pull off a major win if they aspire to win a medal.

Top-ranked Saina Nehwal, ranked sixth in the world, takes on Macau’s U Teng Lok in her opening round of 32 match on September 24. If Saina clears that hurdle, she faces either Khulangoo Baatar of Mongloia or Soraya Aghaeihajiagha of Iran in the pre-quarterfinals.

It gets tough from then on for the Indian ace as she could run into second seed Wang Yihan of China in the quarterfinals. Saina has an extremely poor record against the 2011 World Champion and London Olympics silver-medallist, managing just one victory in nine attempts.

Yihan crushed Saina 21-13, 21-13 at the London Olympics and also beat her this May at the Indian Open, scoring a 21-16, 21-14 win. The last time Saina beat Yihan was way back in October 2012 at the Denmark Open.

The path is littered with similar dynamites for P V Sindhu. The two-time World Championship bronze medallist opens her campaign against Kit Leng Wong of Macau and then runs into either Bellaetrix of Indonesia or Nangsal Tamang of Nepal.

While those two challenges may not test her that much, the quarterfinal is expected to be a stiff one where she could meet top seed and World No 1 Li Xuerui. The Chinese is the reigning Olympic champion and lost to Carolina Marin in the final of this August’s World Championship.

Sindhu, however, can take heart from the fact that she holds a 1-1 head-to-head record against the Chinese, having won their previous meeting at the China Masters in September, 2012.

Ashwini Ponnappa won’t be taking part in doubles after her partner Jwala Gutta pulledout due to injury.
In the men’s singles, Commonwealth Games gold medallist P Kashyap starts against Iqbal Ahmed of Afghanistan in a round of 32 clash but may face World No 1 and favourite Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the next round.

K Srikanth, who starts against either U Leong Lek or Cao Cuong Pham, may meet World No 2 and reigning World Champion Chen Long of China in the quarterfinals.

Legend Lin Dan, the defending champion, is unseeded and is in the same half of the draw as his rival Lee.

(Published 22 September 2014, 19:14 IST)

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