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Saina eyes Japan Open title

55World No. 1 Saina Nehwal will look to continue her winning form when she opens her campaign at the Japan Super Series, which gets underway with the qualifiers on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old became the first Indian to win a silver medal at World Championship last month.

Second seed Saina will open her campaign against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan on Wednesday and a win is likely to pit her against compatriot and two-time bronze medallist at the World Championship P.V. Sindhu, who will face Japan’s Minatsu Mitani, ranked 18th, in the first round.

It could be the second clash of their career at the International stage after they met at the 2014 India Grand Prix Gold final, in which Saina won.

Among other Indians, World No. 4 Kidambi Srikanth is the only one to be seeded in men’s singles. He will take on Scott Evans of Ireland in the opening match.

In men’s singles, Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap will square up against Japan’s Takuma Ueda at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The world No. 8 Indian has beaten Takuma twice.

World No. 4 Kidambi Srikanth will face off with Scott Evans of Ireland, while Dutch Open champion Ajay Jayaram will take on seventh seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and H.S. Prannoy will meet Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong.

In women’s doubles, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who recently won the Canada Open, will meet eighth seeded Chinese combo of Zhao Yunlei and Zhong Qianxin, while Pradnya Gadre and N. Sikki Reddy will fight it out with Japanese top seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the opening round.