Jakarta, Jun 6 (AFP): Star badminton couple Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap, along with India’s recent Thomas Cup hero HS Prannoy, made late pullouts from the Indonesian Open Super Series 500 event beginning in Jakarta on Tuesday.
India’s first Olympic medal-winning shuttler Saina has decided to skip citing workload management, while Kashyap is yet to regain fitness after recovering from an hamstring injury.
“I had injured my hamstring just before the selection trials and that took seven weeks to heal, then I had an ankle issue,” Kashyap told PTI.
“I am fine now. But I need to get my fitness back. Hope to play a few of the next four events.
“Saina withdrew because there are so many tournaments so she thought it is better if she plays next week and skips this one. She is fine,” Kashyap added.
Prannoy, who played a key role in India’s historic triumph in the Thomas Cup last month, also pulled out to focus on next four events on the Tour.
“I will skip this Indonesia event. I will play the next. I am in good shape. Looking forward to the next few weeks,” Prannoy said.
The men’s team touched a new high with its Thomas Cup exploits where India defeated 14-time champions Indonesia to win its first ever title.
But the Indian flavour will be missing in the men’s section after the withdrawals of Srikkanth, Kashyap and Prannoy.
Srikkanth had earlier withdrawn and the top-ranked Indian shuttler and world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen will carry India’s hope in the men’s singles.
The men’s singles draw features a second Indian in Sameer Verma who faces a qualifier to open his campaign.
In their absence, Sen and PV Sindhu would be in focus as they look to hit top gear in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, starting 28 July.
World number nine Sen, seeded seventh, will take on Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in a tricky opening round clash.
The top-ranked Indian has a 0-2 head-to-head record against Kristian.
Sen last faced him in the Denmark Open in 2020 when he lost his pre-quarterfinal to the home favourite. The 20-year-old would be keen to better his record against Kristian.
In Saina’s absence, Sindhu is the lone Indian in fray in the women’s singles main draw.
After making a semi-final exit in the Thailand Open, double Olympic medallist Sindhu will look to go all the way. She will begin with a clash against Line Christophersen of Denmark.
In the men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on local players Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan.
There are two Indian pairs in the women’s doubles section.
Seeded 22nd, Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy find themselves in the top-half and open their campaign against Jacqueline Lima and Samia Lima of Brazil.
The Indian duo faces a potential tough second round clash against top-seed Chinese duo of Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan.
Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker is the second Indian pair in the main draw, and will be up against second seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of South Korea, in the tournament-opener.