Easy draw for Saina Nehwal, tougher path for doubles’ specialists
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Indian hope Saina Nehwal will start her quest for an Olympic medal against unheralded Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland on July 28 in the women's badminton singles event in the London Games. The draw event for the London Olympic Games badminton event was held on Monday at the Main Press Center of the Olympic Park in London and Saina was clubbed in Group E along with Sabrina and Lianne Tan of Belgium. The 22-year-old Indian, who had reached the quarterfinals in 2008 Beijing Olympics, is one of the front-runners to win the gold, beside the top three Chinese players.
Saina, who won two successive titles at Thailand Grand Prix Gold and Indonesia Superseries last month, is likely to play 14th seed Yao Jie of The Netherlands (Group F) in the pre-quarterfinals.
The world No.5 Hyderabadi is expected to face some tough competition in the quarterfinals as she is likely to take on either two-time All England Champion Tine Baun (Group G), seeded fifth, or 12th seed Japanese Sayaka Sato (Group H).
In the men's singles, world No.21 P Kashyap has been clubbed with 10th seed Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh and Tan Yuhan of Belgium in Group D. The Commonwealth bronze medallist Indian has beaten Nguyen twice in the past, while against Tan, he holds a 1-1 record. Going by his recent form, Kashyap is likely to top the group and take on eighth seed Japanese Kenichi Tago (Group C) in the round of the 16.
In the women's doubles, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have been placed with fourth seeded Japanese pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa, Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei and Singapore's Shinta Sari Mulia and Yao Lei in Group B. The Indian pair has a 1-2 record against the Japanese duo, while they lost thrice to the Singapore combo.
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