India’s chances of winning medals at this week’s Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open have taken a hit after quite a few shuttlers pulled out of the season’s final Superseries event. In men’s singles, Srikanth Kidambi, Ajay Jayaram and Sameer Verma have withdrawn, leaving HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth and Sourabh Verma as the only Indian competitors in the main draw, and Parupalli Kashyap in the qualifying draw in that section.
The Indian contingent will not be fully represented in doubles as well with Pranaav Jerry Chopra having to pull out from mixed doubles and the pair of Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita Ghorpade opting out of women’s doubles.
Sameer Verma was the runner-up in Hong Kong last year
World No. 2 Srikanth, who is the biggest Indian name to give the event a miss, is recuperating from a muscle strain that forced him to pull out of last week’s China Open Superseries Premier too. His injury is said to have almost healed but he did not want to risk it in order to be in best shape for the upcoming Dubai World Superseries Finals in December.
In a dazzling season, the Guntur-born ace won a staggering four Superseries titles and was even in contention for the World No. 1 ranking, hopes of which have now dimmed following his twin withdrawals.
Syed Modi International champion Sameer Verma was the star of the show at the Hong Kong Open last year and made a giant-killing run to the final where he lost to NG Ka Long Angus in three games. Verma will not get any chance to defend his runner-up points as his ongoing shoulder injury keeps him out of this edition.
Verma has admittedly healed completely and is undergoing rehabilitation to get fit for the third season of the Premier Badminton League, which starts on December 23.
World No. 23 Ajay Jayaram continues to recover from a hamstring injury and had wrapped up his season on the BWF Tour a few weeks back.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy made a splash at the Japan Open Superseries where they made it to the semi-finals. They will not be able to replicate that performance as Chopra sustained a leg injury at the Senior National Championships and is now set to miss two Superseries tournaments in a row.
Reddy, however, will still be in action in the women’s doubles category alongside the veteran Ashwini Ponnappa.