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Saina aims for Top-5 return at China Open

World No 7 Saina, who will open her campaign against a qualifier, has been troubled by injuries this year. She had to withdraw from last years China Open due to a knee injury and will be hoping to make a mark this year at the USD350,000 fifth and final Super Series Premier of the year.

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal

The Hyderabadi will have her task cut out as she will probably face defending champion and top seed Li Xuerei of China if she manages to reach the quarter-finals. Saina will have to be in top form in order to stage an upset.

If the Indian manages to get past the hurdle, she will probably have to play either fourth seed Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea or German fifth seed Juliane Schenk in semis.

Unseeded Arundhati Pantawane, the other Indian in women’s singles, will face another unseeded opponent in Eriko Hirose of Japan. In men’s singles, unseeded Parupalli Kashyap will face eighth seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in his campaign opener.

World No 12 Kashyap had reached the quarter-finals last year and will aim for another good performance. If Kashyap manages to reach the quarters, then could face top seed and World No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.

Mumbai’s Ajay Jayaram will be up against one of the qualifiers in his first match. In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on Russian pair of Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov in the first round. 

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