HYDERABAD (TIP): With the second round exit of Parupalli Kashyap and PV Sindhu, it was left to Saina Nehwal to carry the Indian hopes at the Korea Open Super Series Premier in Seoul on Thursday. The Olympic bronze medalist made short work ((21- 16, 21-9) of Singapore’s Mingtian Fu to set up a quarterfinal clash against upcoming Chinese shuttler Han Li on Friday. Saina defeated Li twice last year. With the withdrawal of top seed Li Xuerui and second seed Wang Yihan, Saina, who is seeded third, has emerged as the title favourite.
However, with the presence of few other players like former All England champion Shixian Wang of China and youngster Minatsu Mitani of Japan, the field is quite strong at Seoul. Sindhu lost to Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 19-21, 13-21, her first loss against the Thai girl in three meetings. Men’s singles shuttler Kashyap went down fighting against Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-16, 13-21, 17-21. Kashyap started on a strong note winning the first game before Yun began to trouble him at the net. Kashyap is world No. 11 Kashyap rose to a careerbest ranking of world number 11 in the latest rankings. P V Sindhu, also jumped two places to reach career-best ranking of number 17, while Saina retained her third rank.