Kuala Lumpur: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal might not had a good start to the year, having lost in the quarters of Korea Open Super Series badminton tournament, but she will look to get her act together when she begins her campaign in the Malaysia Open Super Series on Tuesday.
In the absence of higher ranked Chinese shuttlers, Saina has been given the top billing in the women's singles event and she would be keen to live up to the reputation.
It should not be difficult for India's World No. 3 to cross the first two rounds and if everything goes well, she would meet eighth seed Eriko Hirose of Japan in the quarterfinals of the USD 400,000 event.
And although the 22-year-old Hyderabad girl is ranked higher than Eriko, according to statistics, the Japanese enjoyed an upper hand over Saina in their last five meetings.
Meanwhile, India's rising star PV Sindhu, who also exited early in Korea, has got a tough first round match against third seed Tine Baun of Denmark.
In men's singles, top Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap, ranked 11, will open his campaign against Takuma Ueda of Japan, against whom the Indian has a 1-0 record.
While Mumbai's Ajay Jayaram will face Malaysian Daren Liew, Sourabh Verma of Madhya Pradesh will take on a qualifier in their respective first round matches.
It would interesting to watch Jayaram battling it out against Liew, who had won his first Super Series in France last year.
Men's singles qualification round will see Anand Pawar, B Sai Praneeth and RMV Gurusaidutt playing tomorrow for a place in the main round.
Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre will be playing in mixed doubles, while the pair of Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy and S Sanjeeth-Jagadish Yadav will also be contesting for a spot in the men's doubles main draw event.


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