Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the Syed Modi International Open that is set to start here on Tuesday. The development comes a day after she had announced her decision to pull out of the upcoming season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) citing a need to take some time to recover from injuries she has collected over what has been a difficult year for her.
Saina has suffered six first round defeats this year as she battled illness and injuries. With the race for qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics reaching its home stretch next year, the former world No 1 will be looking to get back to full fitness.
Kidambi Srikanth, who also pulled out of the PBL earlier on Monday, is however set to stage a challenge in the men’s singles. He was knocked out of the Korea Masters in the Round of 16 before which he managed to reach the semi-final of the Hong Kong thanks to a mixture of luck and good performances. He will start his tournament with a match against Russian Vladimir Malkov.
He faces the possibility of facing Parupalli Kashyap in the second round, whose first match is against France’s Lucas Corvee. Young Lakshya Sen, looking to win a third BWF World Tour title of the season, faces France’s Thomas Rouxel in his opening game. H.S. Prannoy will be facing China’s Li Shi Feng while World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth will be up against Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain. Ajay Jayaram faces Sameer Verma in the opening round.
In the absence of Saina and P.V. Sindhu, Vrushali Gummadi, Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, Mugdha Agrey and Riya Mookerjee will be staging the Indian challenge.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have drawn headlines with their win at the Thailand Open Super 500 and after reaching the final of the French Open Super 750 earlier in the year. They will start their campaign against China’s Di Zi Jian and Wang Chang.