India pins hope on Sindhu and Srikanth

Kidambi Srikanth

With a favourable draw, Sindhu is expected to cruise through to the semifinals.

"I'm hoping to achieve my best results in Dubai this time", said Lee, who has won the Finals four times in 2008 (Kota Kinabalu), 2009 (Johor Baru), 2010 (Taipei) and 2013 (Kuala Lumpur). The top two players from each of the two groups will proceed to the semi-finals.

But Axelsen is unlikely to take Srikanth lightly as the Indian player had beaten him twice in the finals in Superseries tournaments in 2015. "So I will have to be prepared from the start to do well in Dubai", Sindhu added.

He made it to the Finals last season as one of the eight qualifiers but failed to clear the group stage. But the world No.9 Bingjiao fought back in the second game with deft work at the net and stooping drops.

Axelsen became only the third Danish player to win the world championship when he beat the iconic Lin Dan in straight sets in the final in August this year. She finally took the first game 21-11.

Chen Yufei

"Training was going well and I had to be prepared for every match".

She won silver at Glasgow World Championship and Hong Kong Open.

"I still feel that there is room for improvement in my game", he said. And with rivals Carolina Marin and Nozomi Okuhara have withdrawn from the Superseries Finals, Sindhu is being considered the tournament favourite. That puts her in a unsafe position of playing without pressure, and her talent is sufficient to pull off an upset or two. Sindhu started strongly to win the first game 21-11 but lost the second 16-21. This would undoubtedly be a tough encounter for Sindhu but she can come through if she can repeat her Korea Open heroics. Yamaguchi has had a stellar campaign in terms of consistency, qualifying for Dubai with the highest tally of points in the destination rankings. In 2017, however, it's all tied up 1-1.

Srikanth, who has now completely recovered from a thigh muscle strain, told Indian media before leaving for the Dubai finale that he would not settle for anything less than the gold medal at Shaikh Hamdan Complex.

Sindhu is in Group A with He Bingjia, Akane Yamaguchi and Sayaka Sato.



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