Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu may face off in semis at India Super Series
Saina Nehwal would kick off her campaign against Austria's Simone Prutsch and her first real challenge should come at the last-eight stage, while PV Sindhu, world number 9, has a more difficult task as she faces second seed and reigning All-England champion Shixian Wang in the opening round.
Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu, India's best hopes in the BWF India Super Series, might face off at the semi-final if they can cross a Chinese hurdle each in the second half of the women's singles. Indian ace shuttlers, Saina and Sindhu will be the star attraction in the USD 250,000 tournament which is scheduled to be held at Siri Fort Sports Complex here from April 1-6.
Eighth seed Saina would kick off her campaign against Austria's Simone Prutsch and her first real challenge should come at the last-eight stage where she is expected to meet former world champion and third seed Yihan Wang of China. Sindhu, world number 9, has a more difficult task as she faces second seed and reigning All-England champion Shixian Wang in the opening round.
However, the world championship bronze medallist would take heart from the fact that she had never lost to Shixian in their previous two meetings and it would be the Chinese who would be under pressure going into the tournament opener.
If Sindhu manages to cross that hurdle, she may have to overcome the challenges of Japan's Sayaka Takahashi or Korean sixth seed Sung Ji Hyun of Korea before entertaining any thought of a possible face-off with Saina.
While the women can look at a few positives from the draw, the Indian men's singles shuttlers have no such luck as almost all of them face tough opponents in the opening round.
K Srikanth, the Thailand Grand Prix gold champion and currently the highest ranked Indian in the world, has a relatively easier opening round opponent in Japan's Takuma Ueda, who is placed one place above him in the world ranking at 21.
Among the others, London Olympics quarterfinalist P Kashyap opens his campaign against sixth seed Zhengming Wang of China, 2010 Youth Olympics silver medallist H S Prannoy begins against second seed Chen Long of China, Anand Pawar faces fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and B Sai Praneeth meets seventh seed Pengyu Du of China.
In the women's doubles event, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will open their campaign against Thailand's Chaladchalam Chayanit and Peeraya Munkitamorn and are likely to face London Olympics gold medallists and fifth seed Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing of China in the second round.