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India Open: Sindhu, Saina primed for opening rounds


ANI New Delhi [India]
The top guns in the India Open 2018 got into combat mode on the eve of the tournament by expressing their title ambitions here on Tuesday.
Home favourites PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal said that they were banking on their past record and current form while Olympic champion Carolina Marin stated that she was keen on a sterling show to get ready for a challenging season ahead.
In the men's section, top-ranked Kidambi Srikanth was eager to put behind his lean patch and bounce back. All four will be in action on Wednesday when the main draw gets underway at the Siri Fort Complex.
"I got injured in November and then I had to pull out of the China and Hong Kong Open. I then played in Dubai where things didn't go my way and then I got injured again during the PBL," Srikanth said.
"I was never going to play the Malaysia Masters but had to miss Indonesia. But there are still a number of big tournaments, starting with the India Open and I am just looking forward to them," he added.
Srikanth will open his campaign against Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu on Wednesday.
Sindhu, who won the women's singles crown last season and is the top seed in the tournament, is viewing the India Open as a fresh challenge.
"It's important to stay fit and give my best. Each round is going to be tough so I will be taking one match at a time. Yes, I won last year but it's a different year and I am just looking to give my best," the World Championship silver medallist said.
Meanwhile, Sindhu will take on Denmark's Natalia Rohde and, barring any surprises, her real challenge will come in the form of former world champion Ratchnok Intanon in the semifinals.
Nehwal, who is in the bottom half of the draw, will face another Dane, Sofie Dahl in the opening round.
"The Indian Open is a good opportunity for me to get back to winning ways. It is a competitive field but I have a good record in the tournament so I'm hopeful of a good show," the fourth seed said.
Olympic champion Marin is chasing bigger goals this season. "I have played all big tournaments because I value these tournaments, and also, having turned out for three -- the Malaysian, the Indonesian and the Indian Open -- it also helps me prepare better for the All-England Championship," the Spanish star, who meets Thailand's Mattana Hemrachatanun in the first round, said.
Among the other Indians who will take to the courts on Wednesday, World No. 10 HS Prannoy will face qualifier Shreyansh Jaiswal in his opening match while Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth will face Rajiv Ouseph of England.

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First Published: Jan 30 2018 | 8:55 PM IST

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