Saina eyes elusive title this season

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After failing to retain her titles in Thailand and Indonesia in the last couple of weeks, Saina Nehwal will now look to break her nine-month draught when she begins her campaign in the Singapore Super Series here on Wednesday.
The world number two Indian has been going through a dip in form, besides having some injury concerns and it reflected in her performances in Thailand and Indonesia where she crashed out of the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.
By this time of the year, Saina always has at least one title in her cabinet but this year, even though she reached the semi-finals of the All England and Swiss Open earlier, a crown has eluded her. In fact, she has not won a title since last October.
The 23-year-old, who skipped the tournament last year in the run up to the London Olympics, will look to turn around things but she will have to be on guard as she begins her campaign against local player Gu Juan.
Gu spoilt Saina’s campaign at Thailand.
World no. 11 P.V. Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Open Grand Prix in May, meanwhile, pulled out of the tournament as she is yet to recover from her knee injury.
In the men’s singles, world no. 10 Parupalli Kashyap will also look to fashion a turn around after he lost to Sho Sasaki of Japan in the opening round of Indonesia Super Series last week. Thailand Open champion Kidambi Srikanth was awarded a direct entry into the main draw after two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China pulled out.
On the day, rising shuttlers B. Sai Praneeth, P.C. Thulasi and Arundhati Pantawane entered the main draw.

***
Event hit by late pull-outs
Singapore: A large-scale withdrawal on the eve of competition has robbed the event of several seeded players after superstars Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei chose to skip the event.
Eleven players pulled out on Monday, citing fatigue and injury, though many may be keen to avoid exerting themselves in what is the last Super Series event before the world championships in August.
Players who withdraw late from tournaments receive a small fine from the BWF, according to reports. Singapore experienced similar problems last year in the run-up to the London Olympics. Men’s third seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro, women’s fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon were among the late pull-outs, as well as doubles top seeds of China Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang. — AFP

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