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Rediff.com  » Sports » Saina faces tricky draw in Asian Championships: Gopichand

Saina faces tricky draw in Asian Championships: Gopichand

Last updated on: April 10, 2010 18:26 IST

Saina NehwalSaina Nehwal faces a tricky draw in the Asian Badminton Championships as most of the shuttlers she is likely to play against have defeated her in the past, feels national coach Pullela Gopichand.

"It is a very tricky draw for Saina. She plays a Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the first round and Julia Pei Xian Wong in the second round. Saina have lost close matches against them in the past. So it will be a tricky," Gopichand said.

"She has to play to her full potential to beat them. If she plays even 5-10 per cent below her calibre, it will be difficult for her," he added.

Gopichand feels the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju too stand a good chance to win this tournament considering their draw.

"They have a good chance to win this one. If Diju plays to his true potential, they should be on a roll. They are India's best chances in the ABC," Gopichand said.

The former All England champion feels although Chetan Anand's pulling out is a setback but India have players like Arvind Bhat and Anup Sridhar who can reach the quarters at least.

"Chetan pulled out with a knee injury and it is a little setback for us but it has left the draw open for Anup and if the conditions in the Siri Fort stadium favours the Indians, he should reach the quarters safely. Also Arvind should do well here," he said.

Meanwhile, Diju hopes to reach at least the quarter-finals of the Asian Badminton Championship with Jwala Gutta.

Top seeds Diju and Jwala will clash with a qualifier in the first round and the Kerala shuttler said considering the draw they should safely reach at least the quarter-finals.

"I have seen the draw and I feel looking at it we should reach the quarters at least. We in all probability will meet a Chinese pair there and from there on it will be tough," he said.

"I have a little pain in my back but it should be ok," he added.

However, his partner Jwala said she is just concentrating on the first round and she has not seen the full draw.

"I have not seen the whole draw and I am just concentrating on the first round and take one match at a time. It will be a great environment with all the home support and we should perform well," she said.

Asked if form is a concern considering their recent performance in the All England and Swiss Open where they were knocked out in the first round, Diju said it was not much of a concern as they have got enough time to practice and things are looking better.

"We didn't have the kind of start to the season that we would have wanted and we lost in the first rounds of the last two events but this won't matter. We had a gap of 10-15 days and we practiced hard for the event," he said.

"Also many top pairs are not playing like the Danish pair of Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl. But even then it is a good field as there are not much difference among the top 20 in mixed doubles," he added.

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