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Saina eyes first title of year in Singapore

other Updated: Jun 18, 2013 23:17 IST

PTI
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After failing to retain her titles in Thailand and Indonesia in the last couple of weeks, Saina Nehwal will now look to break her nine-month title draught when she begins her campaign in the Singapore Super Series on Wednesday.

The world No 2 Indian has been going through a slump, besides having some injury concerns, and it reflected in her performance at Thailand and Indonesia, where she crashed out of the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

By this time of the year, Saina has always had at least one title, but this year, even though she reached the semifinals of the All England and Swiss Open earlier, a title has eluded her. In fact, she has not won a title since October.

The 23-year-old, who skipped the tournament last year in the run up to the London Olympics, will look to turn things around but she will have to be on guard as she begins her campaign against local player Juan Gu. Juan had spoilt Saina's campaign at Thailand and the Olympic bronze medallist will be eager to avenge that quarter-final loss.

The road ahead won't be easy for the Commonwealth champion as some top players, including world No 12 Eriko Hirose, world No 5 Ratchanok Intanon, are in the fray.

Drawn in the second half, Saina, however, won't face any Chinese before the semifinals.

World No 11 PV Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Open Grand Prix in May, meanwhile, pulled out as she is yet to recover from a knee injury.

In the men's singles, world No 10 Parupalli Kashyap will also look to fashion a turnaround after he lost to Sho Sasaki of Japan in the opening round of the Indonesia Super Series last week.

“The past is past, I am just thinking about Singapore now. The draw seems okay. Let's hope for the best,” said Kashyap. Thailand Open champion Kidambi Srikanth too has been awarded a direct entry after two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China pulled out. The 20-year-old from Guntur will begin his campaign against sixth seed Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam.