Fresh Saina to lead India’s charge at Denmark Open (Preview)

Odense, Oct 12 (IANS) World No.1 woman shuttler Saina Nehwal will be fresh and hungry after nearly a month’s rest when the $650,000 Denmark Open begins at the Odense Sports Park here on Tuesday.

The 2015 World Championships bronze medallist is the top seed at the tournament which she won three years ago. In the first round on Wednesday, the 25-year-old will face world No.17 Busanan Ongbumrungphan of Thailand, who lost to the Hyderabadi in the Japan Open on September 9.

If the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist advances, she is expected to face world No.18 Minatsu Mitani of Japan, who conquered Saina in Tokyo last month.

World No.13 and double World Championships bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu will face Indonesian Maria Febe Kusumastuti and if the 20-year-old Indian prevails, she will face a tough test in the second round — the winner between world No.12 Bae Yeon Ju and world No.7 and former world champion Yihan Wang of China.

The 2011 World Championships bronze medal-winning doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will also return to action after missing the Korea Open and will open against Japanese seventh seed Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda.

Fith seed Kidambi Srikanth and eighth seed Parupalli Kashyap will carry India’s hopes In the men’s singles. While Srikanth’s first round challenger — Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand — has withdrawn, Commonwealth Games 2014 champion Kashyap runs into a tough opponent in former world No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.

Chong Wei has staged a strong comeback after an eight-month hiatus, making a runner-up finish in the World Championships and proving that the 32-year-old is still a force to reckon with.

World No.16 H.S. Prannoy will open his campaign against Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei. World No.26 Ajay Jayaram, who retained the Dutch Open crown on Sunday and also was a surprising finalist at the Korean Open, will play in Tuesday’s qualifiers.

Two-time reigning world champion Chen Long of China will be the strong favourite to retain the title here.

In the doubles, world No.20 pair of Manu Atri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will take on Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England.

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