11:45 pm - Friday November 6, 2015

Sindhu optimistic; Kashyap hopes to come good at home

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When Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu faced off in the Syed Modi International India Masters tournament here last year, they were only three ranks apart. The senior pro was under pressure to protect her No. 1 status in Indian badminton, staving off a fighting Sindhu in the final.

A year on, Saina has consolidated her position at the top with three titles through 2014 while Sindhu is out of the top 10 despite a string of decent performances.

A series of second and third place finishes mean Sindhu, despite a historic second World Championship bronze, has slipped to 11th in the world.

Coming off a semifinal defeat at the Malaysia Masters, Sindhu is hopeful of going one step better in 2015 as the main draw begins on Tuesday.

Sindhu begins her campaign against qualifier Ekta Kalia in the first round but her real challenge will begin in the third round, when she is likely to face Thai sixth seed Porntip Buranaprasertuk.

Saina will be up against Yin Fun Lim of Singapore and is likely to face Spanish fifth seed Beatriz Corrales in the third round.

If everything falls in place, the two may well run into each other in the title clash once again.

On the men’s side, K. Srikanth had an exceptional run in the second half of last year but that won’t make it any easier for him here with compatriots H.S. Prannoy, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and fifth seed Singaporean Wei Feng Chong in his half of the draw.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist P. Kashyap, who had an early exit at the Malaysia Masters, is also looking forward to come good at home.

“I always do well at home and I like playing here. Malaysia was because of bad form and I committed errors but other than that, I have had a very consistent season. I have won this tournament before and I am looking forward to winning it again,” Kashyap said.

With late pullouts in the main draws of both the men’s and women’s section, the qualifying rounds on Tuesday were a largely Indian affair restricted to a handful of games.

UP Academy trainee and sub-junior Asian silver medalist Riya Muherjee didn’t break sweat for her 21-9, 21-6 win over Seema Panchal.

Talar Laa and Himanshu Saroha were taken the distance on their respective matches by Ansal Yadav and Ameya Oak but other than that, there was hardly any excitement on court.

The results: Qualifiers (Indians unless stated):

Men: Singles: Love Kumar bt Jaswinder Singh 21-11, 21-15; K. Vikranth bt Mohd. Rahad Kabir Khaled (Ban) 21-15, 21-18.

Sidharth Jakhar bt Kirill Romanuk (Rus) 21-10, 21-5; Himanshu Saroha bt Ameya Oak 16-21, 22-20, 21-16; Talar Laa bt Ansal Yadav 21-17, 14-21, 21-19.

Ankit Chhikara bt Mostafizar Rahman (Ban) 21-13, 21-9.

Doubles: Jayan James & Vikranth Karukonda bt Love Kumar & Varun Sharma 18-21, 21-13, 21-18; Utkarsh Arora & Tanvir Gill bt Rajat Joon & Ravi Kumar 18-21, 21-10, 21-12; Saurav Kapoor & Deepak Khatri bt Pavan Malik & Aditya Nair 21-18, 21-17; Kapil Chaudhary & Chandrabhushan Tripathi bt Kabir Kanzarkar & Akshay Raut 21-14, 22-20.

Women: Singles: Riya Mukherjee bt Seema Panchal 21-9, 21-6; Lalita Dahiya bt Vaddepally Pramada 21-14, 21-19.

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