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Saina in good form, asserts Gopi

other Updated: Dec 21, 2011 01:32 IST
Sharad Deep

All eyes will be on Saina Nehwal when she begins her campaign at the year-ending Syed Modi Memorial India Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship here on Wednesday.

The world No 4 didn't train like her other teammates, Jwala Gutta and V Diju, but was confident of defending the title at the UPBA Academy.

The only Indian to be seeded in the women's draw, Saina plays here first round match against Pai Hsiao Ma of the Chinese Taipei. Her archrival, Erika Hirose of Japan, who is seeded fourth, will lock horns with the young Sayali Gokhale.

“Yes, she (Saina) has been consistently doing well and we can expect a good show from her,” said Pullela Gopi Chand, who along with Saina flew in from China, after she lost in the BWF season-ending World Super Series Finals in Liuzhou on Sunday. "Saina is playing with confidence and has trained hard in the last six months. In the 21-point format, one needs to be sharp and that's an area we need to look at," he added.

Gopi dubbed the first-ever GP Gold event here as a big opportunity for young Indian players to improve their ranking as many of them are seeking important points in the run-up to the Olympic qualifiers.