Saina eyes Malaysia Masters title

Saina Nehwal, yet to reach her best level since returning from an injury, will look to win the tournament as the top-seed.

Saina Nehwal, the top-seed, will look to win her first major tournament since coming back from a knee injury.   -  AP

Saina Nehwal will look to clinch the Malaysia Masters title as she begins the year's international campaign in the season-opening Grand Prix Gold which starts with the qualifiers here tomorrow.

Saina had mixed results at the recently-concluded Premier Badminton League (PBL), where she won three matches while losing to Olympic champion Carolina Marin and P. V. Sindhu.

Saina, yet to reach her best level since returning from an injury, will look to win the tournament as the top-seed.

Saina endured a difficult season last year as she recovered from a foot injury to win the Australian Open. She suffered a major knee injury just before the Rio Olympics to bow out of the the mega-event in the second round.

After regaining her fitness, she made it to the quarterfinals at Macau Open and Hong Kong Open before starting the new season with the PBL, where she guided Awadhe Warriors to the semifinals.

In men's singles, Parupalli Kashyap will be missing in action as he has been ruled out for three months after hurting his shoulder during the PBL but sixth seed Ajay Jayaram, who has been in good form in the domestic league, will take on a qualifier on the opening day of the main draw.

Harsheel Dani will face Malaysia's Zii Jia Lee, Abhishek Yelegar will meet 13th seed Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Rahul Yadav Chittaboina will take on Chinese Taipei's Hsueh Hsuan Yi at Sibu Indoor Stadium.