Commonwealth Games champion Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will miss the Thailand Open Super 300 badminton tournament after the former failed to completely recover from his hip injury suffered recently. Satwik had sustained the injury during the India Open Super 750 tournament earlier in the month and was forced to withdraw midway from the tournament in New Delhi.
“It hasn’t healed yet, so won’t be playing Thailand,” Chirag, one half of the world number six pair, told PTI. “Mostly we are targeting All England Championship now,” he added. The top seeded Indian duo, who reached the semifinals of the season-opening Malaysia Open, was scheduled to face Chinese Taipei’s Su Ching Heng and Ye Hong Wei in the opening round.
World no. 34 Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala will now lead the Indian challenge in men’s doubles. “We need to get used to the level we are playing quicker. In super 100s and 300s we are playing at a good level but we have to level up in bigger tournament. Getting into top 20 this year is a short term target for us,” Krishna said.
“Our attack really work but we are lacking in one or two skills, we are not being consistent and that is where we need to work upon.” Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek K are also in the fray as they open against Jeppe Bay and eighth seed Lasse Molhede.
India will have a host of players, led by Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth, competing in men’s singles. While former Singapore Open champion Praneeth, who has slumped to world no. 51, will face an uphill task against second seed Lu Guang Zu of China, while Sameer Verma, who is also on a comeback trail after recovering from injury, meets another Chinese in six seed Li Shi Feng.
Priyanshu Rajawat, who had reached the main draw at Indonesia Masters last week, will square off against Heo Kwang Hee of Korea, Odisha Open champion Kiran George is pitted against Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hao Lee and Orleans Masters runners-up Mithun Manjunath will cross sword with fifth seed Japanese Kenta Nishimoto.
In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal will be up against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, whom she had beaten at India Open, while Malvika Bansod will once again open against top seed and former world champion Ratchanok Inthanon and Anupama Upadhyaya and Ashmita Chaliha will face-off in an all-Indian opener.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Treesa Jolly and Gauatri Gopichand will fight it out against Japan’s Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto, while new women’s doubles pairing of Shruti Mishra and N Sikki Reddy will meet top seed Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand.
Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa will face China’s Tan Ning and Xia Yu Ting. In mixed doubles, B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, Rohan Kapoor and Sikki, and eighth seed Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha are also in the fray.