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Favourable draw awaits Saina, Sridhar in Beijing

July 27, 2008 20:59 IST

Just days before embarking on their Olympic sojourn, Beijing-bound shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Anup Sridhar got a fillip when they were handed a favourable draw in the women's and men's singles badminton competition of the quadrennial event starting August 8.

Although Saina's path to the pre-quarterfinals is relatively smooth, the same is not in the case of her male counterpart Sridhar.

Saina, ranked 15th in the world, opens her campaign against World no. 30 Ella Diehl Karachkova of Russia and if she manages to clear the first hurdle, which she is expected to looking at her present form, the 18-year-old will lock horns with wither world No. 27 Griga Larisa of Ukraine or Italian Allegrini Agnese (55th).

If Saina manages to book her place in the pre-quarterfinals, it won't be cake walk for her as in all probability she might run into World No.6 Chen Wang of Hong Kong against whom the Indian has lost both the previous two encounters.

Meanwhile, world ranked 29th Sridhar has been pitted against Portugal's Marco Vasconcelo, who is lying 60 rungs below him, in the first round.

However, thereafter, tough road starts for the tall Bangalorean as he may take on world no. 16 Shoji Sato of Japan against whom he has a 3-2 win-loss record.

If Sridhar manages to get past Sato, he might have to face Peter Gade of Denmark in the quarterfinals. The Dane is ranked 8 in the world and has been seeded eight in the Beijing Games.

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