In a big setback, India’s Thomas Cup 2022 hero HS Prannoy and star badminton couple Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap pulled out of the Indonesia Masters 2022 at the last moment on Monday. The Super Series 500 badminton tournament was to begin on Tuesday in Jakarta. (More Badminton News)
Saina, who is a 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist and India’s first Olympic medal-winning shuttler, decided to skip citing workload management. Kashyap, on the other hand, is yet to regain fitness after recovering from a hamstring injury. (Live Streaming)
“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 pulled out to focus on the 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 Thomas Cup 2022 exploits where India defeated 14-time champions Indonesia to win their first-ever title.
But the Indian flavour will be missing in the men's section after the withdrawals of Kidambi Srikanth, Kashyap and Prannoy. Srikanth had earlier withdrawn and the top-ranked Indian shuttler and world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen will carry India's hope in the men's singles.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 July 28.
World no.9 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 semifinal 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.
With PTI inputs