Saina eyes title, others aim to seal Oly berths in India Open

New Delhi: Saina Nehwal will once again be the cynosure of all eyes but the India Open Super Series, the last qualifying event for Olympics, will hold more significance for her compatriots seeking to book berths for the quadrennial extravaganza.

Already assured of a berth, Saina will be desperate to win the India Open, starting Tuesday, but for Jwala Gutta, it will be her last chance to become the first Indian shuttler to qualify for two events — women`s and mixed doubles events.

Already ahead in the run for qualification, it will also be the last chance for Ajay Jayaram to cement his place for the Olympics in men`s singles. Besides the Olympic qualification, the India Open also assumes significance for the young generation of Indian shuttlers who would hope to make an impression at the Siri Fort Sport Complex here.

World number five Saina will start her campaign against Pui Yin Yip of Hong Kong and is expected to reach the quarterfinals, where she is likely to meet two-time All England champion Tine Baun of Denmark.

"It is a good draw, Tine Baun is there in the quarters. Even the Chinese I had lost against in ABC will also play in the qualifiers here but I am confident. I am desperate to win the India Open," Saina said.

Jayaram, who lost in the second round in Asia Badminton Championship, will be up against compatriot Sourabh Verma in his tournament opener after world number 20 Rajiv Ouseph pulled out of the main draw. Sourabh was promoted from the qualifiers to the main draw Sunday.

The winner is likely to meet world number one Lee Chong Wei in the second round. Jayaram`s competitor for the Olympic berth, P Kashyap will take on Belgium`s Yuhan Tan in his first match and is likely to meet fifth seed Korean Hyun Il Lee if he advances.