Saina Nehwal’s All England nemesis, Eriko Hirose of Japan, would once again be the first real hurdle in the World Number 3 Indian’s quest for her first Super Series title of the year at the inaugural India Open badminton tournament, starting in New Delhi on April 26.
According to the draw released on Tuesday, top seed Saina should have little trouble in reaching the round of eight where Hirose could be awaiting her like in the All England Super Series Premium earlier this year.
Saina will open her campaign against world number 23 Ai Goto of Japan, whom she has beaten in their previous three encounters. While Saina was handed a comfortable draw, the Indian men’s singles players were in for a shock with almost all of them scheduled to meet a top-10 player in the opening or the second round.
Ajay Jayaram will open his campaign against World No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, while former junior national champion Guru Sai Dutt faces fourth seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in his opening round.
National champion Aravind Bhat will face sixth seed Park Sung Hwan of Korea in his first round encounter.