Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal will be missing in action at the Hong Kong Open due to an injury and in her absence P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian charge at the USD 350,000 Super Series event starting here tomorrow.
The 25-year-old Saina finished runners-up last week at the China Open Super Series Premier but during her final clash against China’s Li Xuerui, she felt severe pain in her leg and was forced to withdraw from the year-ending Hong Kong Open, a tournament she won in 2010.
Indians have been handed one of the toughest draws as Sindhu will be up against top seed and world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the opening round. Sindhu had defeated the All England champion at the Denmark Open last month but she has a 2-3 overall record against the Spaniard.
Sixth seed Srikanth, who had reached the semifinals of Hong Kong Open last year, has been pitted against world No. 10 Chinese Tian Houwei, who has beaten the Indian four times in as many meetings — all defeats coming this year.
Ajay Jayaram, who reached the finals of Korea Open Super Series and won the Dutch Open Grand Prix twice, will square off against top seed and two-time world champion and London Olympics bronze-medallist Chen Long in the first round at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
The 2014 Indonesia Masters Grand Prix Gold winner, H S Prannoy, who made headlines after beating two-time Olympic and five-time world champion Lin Dan of China, will open his campaign against a qualifier.
In women’s doubles, 2010 Commonwealth Games champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will play the eighth-seeded Korean pair of Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan in their tournament opener.