China Open 2017: Six top Indian shuttlers pull out
India’s title hopes at the $700, 000 Tahoe China Open received a further jolt after a total of six shuttlers pulled out of the season’s final Superseries Premier event, the qualification rounds of which got under way at Fuzhou, China on Tuesday. World No. 2 Srikanth Kidambi, who won the last two Superseries events in Denmark and France, is the biggest name from the contingent to withdraw.
He has now been joined by Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth, Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, Syed Modi International winner Sameer Verma and World No. 22 Ajay Jayaram on the sidelines in men’s singles.
While Sameer is still recovering from a shoulder injury, Jayaram has pulled out of both the China Open and the Hong Kong Open due to a recurring knee issue. Following the multiple withdrawals, the reigning national champion HS Prannoy and former national champion Sourabh Verma are now the only two Indian names in the men’s singles draw.
The India No. 1 mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will also not be in action at the China Open following a leg injury that Chopra sustained at the Senior National Championships. Reddy, however, will be playing in the women’s doubles section alongside Ashwini Ponnappa. Their performance at the China Open will be crucial for any chance of qualifying for the prestigious season-ending World Superseries Finals in Dubai.
Sai Praneeth’s hopes of Dubai qualification dashed
It will be Sai Praneeth for whom the withdrawal will be a major blow for it effectively dashes his hopes of making it through to the World Superseries Finals. Sai is in the 13th place now in the race to Dubai and is less than 4000 points away from the current eighth-placed Lee Chong Wei. Earning no points from this tournament prevents him from making a push.
Srikanth, who aggravated a leg injury at the Nationals, has mathematically qualified for the year-ender. World No. 11 HS Prannoy made a big jump of five places after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open and is now 11th in the Destination Dubai Rankings. His qualification will depend on how he fares at the China Open and the Hong Kong Open.