Saina looks to defend title; Ajay, Sourabh start in Thai GP
Defending champion Saina Nehwal will have her eyes firmly set on the coveted women’s singles crown while Ajay Jayaram and Sourabh Verma will lead the Indian charge in men’s singles when the Thailand Grand Prix Gold begins with the qualifiers on Tuesday.
Back in action after skipping the Sudirman Cup because of a freak toe injury, top seed Saina will have her task cut out as she opens her campaign against Shih Han Hung of Chinese Taipei in the main draw of the women’s singles on Wednesday.
The world number two Indian will have an easy run till the quarterfinals where he is expected to meet local player and third seed Porntip Buranaprasertuk, who is ranked 13 in the world.
However, it will be only in the finals where the 23-year-old from Hyderabad is likely to face her toughest opponent in Thai star Ratchanok Intanon, who has been in red-hot form and has the record of beating Saina twice in the last two encounters.
The event will devoid of Chinese attractions. ‘I had good practice sessions for these upcoming tournaments. I want that I should repeat my last year’s performance. Let’s see how best I do,’ said Saina who will head to Indonesia and Singapore from Bangkok.
Besides Saina, P C Thulasi and Arundhati Pantawane will also start in the women’s singles.