Saina Nehwals old nemesis from Beijing Maria Kristin Yulianti lurks at the semi-final stage,but till then,it should be smooth sailing for the top-ranked Indian shuttler at the March 24-29 India Open Gold Grand Prix event in Hyderabad. Seeded second at her home event,the world No 10 starts her campaign against Chew Yen Daphne NG of Malaysia,aiming to better her showing from last year.
World No 4 Pi Hongyan from France is top seed in the womens singles event,and will play Trupti Murgunde in her opener,while India No 2 Aditi Mutatkar,returning from injury,runs into lesser-known Chinese Cheng Wen. National champion Sayali Gokhale plays Singapores Fu Mingtian.
In the mens singles,Chetan Anand,seeded 3,takes on unseeded Malaysian Chong Chieh Lok at the outset,with the prospect of Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in Round 3. Placed in the same half as Malaysian world No 1 Lee Chong Wei,last years finalist will hope for a good outing playing at home despite the additional dazzle of big names this time around.
Aravind Bhat,seeded 9,opens against Chinese Pengyu Du,with a likely Round 3 showdown with Indonesian Taufik Hidayat. Anup Sridhar and Anand Pawar start against qualifiers.