New Delhi: Avenging her All England loss to Spain’s Carolina Marin and clinching the World No. 1 status will be on her mind when ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal leads the home challenge in the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series which gets underway with the qualifiers on Tuesday.
For years, Saina has been hoping to become the first Indian woman shuttler to reach the numero uno status and that dream will be within touching distance when the top seed opens her campaign at the USD 275,000 event against a qualifier on Wednesday.
However, it will be second seed Carolina, the reigning world champion, who will stand in her way, trying to become the first Spaniard to achieve the feat. If Carolina advances to the India Open final, and Saina is eliminated at or before quarter-finals, Carolina will become world No. 1. If Carolina and Saina both make it to the India Open final, then Saina will be the new world No. 1.
Among the men, new sensation Kidambi Srikanth, who clinched the Swiss Grand Prix Gold earlier this month, will also be the cynosure of all eyes as he starts as the second seed behind Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen.
The 22-year-old from Guntur rose to World No. 4 on the back of some sensational performances, including winning the China Open crown last year beating two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan and he would look to carry on with his good form when he walks out at the Siri Fort Complex this week.
Srikanth will open his campaign with a clash against Thai Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, ranked world No. 19. The Indian has a 1-1 record against Saensomboonsuk, having beaten him in their last encounter at the 2014 Hong Kong Open.
“I have been trying hard and was lucky too. I think having good six to seven Indian players has helped me to grow. But it was beating Lin Dan in his own country that boosted my confidence a lot. I won the Swiss Open and I hope to continue the good run here,” Srikanth said.