Top Indian shuttlers led by HS Prannoy are ready to participate in their third consecutive tournament on the BWF World Tour at the Indonesia Masters Super 500, starting from January 23.
World no. 9 Prannoy will lead the Indian challenge following his semifinal finish at the India Open last week. He will be up against former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round to start his campaign.
Last week, he made it to the semifinals of the India Open for the first time but could not continue the momentum forward and lost to the eventual champion Shi Yuqi of China because of the fatigue caused by two tough games leading up to the semifinals. He will now be aiming to make a solid comeback in this tournament and will look for his first title of the year.
Two more star players Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen will be playing in the event. They will be eager to bounce back after two first-round exits in the last two weeks at the Malaysia Open and India Open.
Both Srikanth and Lakshya have to pull up their socks as the race to the Paris Olympics gets tougher after each passing tournament, and they need to be in the top 16 in the Race to Paris – Olympic qualification rankings to stand a chance of earning a spot.
Srikanth will be up against formidable Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, while Lakshya will play against wily Chinese shuttler Weng Hong Yang in their respective first-round matches.
Youngster Priyanshu Rajawat will be high on confidence after savouring a good outing at the India Open where he beat Lakshya in the first round. He will play Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in the opening round.
India’s top men’s doubles duo Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, however, have withdrawn from the event to focus on bigger events such as the All England Open and the French Open in March and to stay fresh in an Olympic year, also featuring Asian Team Championships and Thomas Cup.
Hence, there will be no Indian representation in the men’s doubles category at the Indonesia Masters.
Similarly, India has no representation in any of the three remaining categories – women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Top women’s singles player PV Sindhu has not yet recovered from her knee injury sustained at the French Open last year.
Meanwhile, Kiran George will be starting in the qualifying round against the home-favourite Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. He will be trying to make it into the main draw after his first-round exit at the India Open.