Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saina Nehwal: Back on the court after a month

Back on the court after a month, Saina Nehwal will battle it out against a tough field while the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju will aim for a second title at the
"I'm playing the world number 10 and I have played her twice and the last time was in the Asian Championship. I lost in three sets. But I'm prepared this time and will give her a good fight," she said.

India's hopes will also rest on Jwala and Diju, who won the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold last month.

The seventh seeded pair will open their campaign against the Thai pair of Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thungthongkam and Diju said they are aiming for at least the semi-finals.
"I am aiming to reach at least the semi-finals. Winning the Chinese Taipei title has helped my confidence and I am enjoying my game now," Diju said.

However, his partner Jwala refused to set any targets. "I don't believe in setting targets. We have been training hard and are well prepared for the tournament. I just want to perform consistently," Jwala said.

"We are playing a Thai pair in the first round and they are really good. They were in the top five earlier but they haven't played in the last couple of tournaments.

"We played them in the first Indian Open two years ago. We lost in the first round. I know things are different now but they are very experienced and we cannot take them lightly," Jwala said.

Jwala will also pair up with Ashwini Ponnappa in women's doubles. Jwala-Ashwini will open their campaign against the seventh seeded Japanese pair of Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna.
"Me and Ashwini have been performing consistently. We reached the quarter-finals in Taiwan and I'm confident, we will be performing well in Japan too," Jwala said.

In men's singles, P Kashyap will spearhead the Indian challenge and has a relatively easy opener against qualifier Takuma Ueda of Japan.

In men's doubles, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will open their campaign against the Korean pair of Sung Hyun Ko and Yi Goo Kwon in the men's doubles event.