Basel (Switzerland): After a semifinal finish at the All England Championship, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal will now look to defend her title at the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold where she starts as the top seed in the women's singles competition.
     
It will be a perfect setting for Saina to gift herself the coveted title on her birthday, which interestingly coincides with the final day of the tournament on March 17. The USD 125,000 event starts on Tuesday.
     
The two-time defending champion has been handed an easy draw and is expected to reach the semifinals without much ado. For a place in the final, the Indian is likely to meet former world number one Shixian Wang, who has also been drawn in the first half.
     
The 22-year-old Hyderabadi had defeated Shixian in the quarterfinals of the All England Championship after a tight and gruelling three-game battle.
     
Young Thai sensation Intanon Ratchanok, who spoilt Saina's All England dream, will be in the second half. India's P V Sindhu has also been drawn in the second half of the women's singles draw.
     
Saina had won the Swiss Open in 2011 for the first time, defeating Ji Hyun Sung of Chinese Taipei in the finals. She retained the title next year, beating Shixian in the summit clash.
     
In the men's singles, world number nine Parupalli Kashyap will start as the fifth seed, while HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma,  K Srikanth and Sai Praneeth too will start in the main draw.

(Agencies)

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