A major badminton event returns to India for the 3rd year running after the 2009 World Championships and 2010 Commonwealth Games with it’s first Super Series event, after taking the Super Series tag from the Swiss Open for 2011. The draw is far from the strongest with the all-conquering Chinese squad not taking part this week, but still has some of the world’s best in New Delhi this week.
Lee Chong Wei, Taufik Hidayat and Peter Gade are the main attractions of the men’s singles draw with no Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Bao Chunlai or Chen Long in the draw which has allowed some lower ranked players like Yuhan Tan of Belgium and a host of India players to reach the main draw. One of those Indian’s in the main draw is Ajay Jayaram, who takes on the top seeded Lee Chong Wei whilst Taufik Hidayat takes on Anup Sridhar. The match of the opening round is a repeat of the 2010 World Championship quarter final between Peter Gade, seeded 3 this week and Kazushi Yamada with the winner likely to be involved in the match of the second round also, with Anand Pawar or Sho Sasaki playing in the other match in this part of the draw.
Top seeded Saina Nehwal has the weight of a nation on her shoulders for the second year running, after her Commonwealth success. She plays Ai Goto in her first round match whilst her main rival in the draw comes in the way of Tine Baun, the second seed who takes on Xing Aiying in her opening round match. Eriko Hirose will be Nehwal’s main rival in the top half of the draw, with the duo expected to meet in the quarter final stage.
Koo and Tan return to India just 6 months after their Commonwealth success as top seeds this week. Their main rivals in the top half of the draw will come in the way of the Asian Championships runners-up in Hashimoto and Hirata who are seeded 4th this week. The bottom half of the draw is very much a Indonesia/Japan rivalry, with both nations claiming two seeds in this half of the draw. 2nd seeded Ahsan and Septano will be the duo to pair, with team-mates Chandra and Gunawan being the main threat in the bottom half of the draw. The Japanese pair of Endo and Hayakawa, seeded 7 and the 6th seeded Kawamae and Sato hoping to cause an upset to reach Sunday’s final.
Japan claim four seeds in the women’s doubles, including the 1st and 2nd seed. Maeda and Suetsuna are the top seeds this week, with Fujii and Kakiiwa taking the second seed, Matsuo and Niato are seeded 6 and 7th seeded Takahashi and Misaki. The 5th seeded Sari and Yao of Singapore have pulled out before the event to boost the 2nd seeded pairs chances of reaching the final on Sunday with only 3 seeds in the bottom half of the draw.
Thailand claim the top two seeds in the mixed doubles this week, but the main news from the week is the pre-event withdrawal of India’s main hope in this event with Gutta and Valiyaveetil who were seeded 6 this week. The top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam have a first round bye before potentially taking on the dangerous Japanese pairing of Sato and Matsuo in the second round.