Hong Kong: Fresh from their title triumphs at the China Open, shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead the Indian challenge at the $350,000 Hong Kong Open Super Series to be played at the Hong Kong Coliseum here from Tuesday. (Saina, Srikanth Wins Fantastic for Indian badminton: Gopichand)
Saina, who clinched her third title of 2014 on Sunday, will first meet World No.52 Jamie Subandhi of the United States while compatriot and two-time World Championship bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu will face Thai World No.20 Busanan Ongbumrungpan against whom the Indian has a 3-0 record.
While third seed Saina is likely to have an easy route till the semi-finals, her likely opponent there will be Chinese world No.2 Shixian Wang. However, the world No.5 can take confidence from the fact that she defeated the former world No.1 Chinese to win the 2010 title here.
The 24-year-old Hyderabadi, who shifted her training base to Bangalore under U. Vimal Kumar before the Incheon Asian Games, will look to continue her momentum in the last Super Series tournament of 2014 before she plays in the season-ending Super Series Finals in Dubai from December 17-21.
However, seventh seed Sindhu, who didn't participate at the China Open, has a difficult draw. The World No.10's likely opponent in the second round will be World No.19 Sun Yu of China. If the tall and lanky shuttler progresses further, she will be up against former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon in the quarters.
In men's singles, world No.16 Srikanth, who Sunday stunned two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan to clinch his first Super Series title, faces a tough opponent in the first round in world No.7 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei.
His friend and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap will face world No.32 Tanonsgak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand in the opener. Kashyap, who lost to Germany's Marc Zwiebler in the quarters in China, will most likely face Srikanth in the second round.
Other Indian shuttlers Ajay Jayaram, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and Sourabh Verma will play the qualifiers to enter the main competition. (Read: PM Narendra Modi Congratulates Saina, Srikanth)
In men's doubles, Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will face World No.3 Indonesian pair Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan while among women, 2011 World Championships bronze medallists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on Malaysian pair of Lim Loon Yin and Lee Yean Meng in the opening round.
In mixed doubles, Jwala will team up with Tarun Kona and Attri will pair N. Sikki Reddy in the qualifiers.