Points to prove and pick at home for shuttlers
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Too good to be on the fringes of Indian badminton but still struggling to return as centrepieces, a bunch of Indians will attempt to make the most of the 2012 edition of Tata Open India International Challenge main draw starting on Thursday at the Cricket Club of India, Mumbai. The tournament will also host contingents from Indonesia, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, almost 80 in number, along with the strong contingent of leading Indian players.
Indian men's singles has settled for a launchpad where half a dozen shuttlers float around in the Top 60s, but it seems more like a plateau given that they've been unable to make the junp into the Top 15 bracket. Top seed here Sourabh Varma has to his credit some high-profile scalps, but a win at home in the International Series will prove his staying power over a week's playing time. Second seed RMV Guru Sai Dutt and B Sai Praneeth are others who have restlessly moved into the Top 50 of the world, but are yet to string together enough wins to win Sunday finals.
Varma who won the national championship last year and has cantered to No 34 plays Taipese Sheng-Jie Yang, while Guru runs into Indonesian Andre Marteen in the opener. Such draws especially in the season immediately post-Olympics tend to be filled with unknown commodities and the young Indians will hope they can live up to their ranking and reputation when playing at home.
Seasoned Chetan Anand, always a lesson in skill and flair if not in stamina and explosive power, takes on Indonesian third seed Zi Liang Derek Wong, while Anup Sridhar, looking leaner and fitter plays Malaysian Wei Sheng Loh as they keep the field interesting with their experienced defiance.
Youngster K Srikanth has notched some good wins domestically this season, and comes up against Robin Gonsansa.
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