Defending Champion, P.V. Sindhu pulled out of Macau open 2016 as she has BWF Superseries Final in Dubai, lined up ahead. She will be taking rest for the same. Now, Star shuttler Saina Nehwal will spearhead the Indian challenge at the $120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament.

The Rio Olympics silver medallist, Sindhu, who is the defending champion here, was originally scheduled to take on China’s Yue Han in the opening match of the tournament on Wednesday, but the Hyderabadi shuttler has withdrawn after paying back-to-back China Open and Hong Kong Open tournaments.

“She had originally planned to play at Macau Open but after she qualified for Dubai Super Series Finals, we have decided to skip the event as otherwise she will get not enough time to prepare for the Dubai event,” Sindhu’s father P V Ramana told PTI. “Winning or losing is not important but at least she should prepare well to compete in such a high-level tournament,” he added. The Dubai Superseries final will take place from December 14-18 where only the world’s top eight players make the cut.

In Sindhu’s absence, compatriot and top seed Saina, who is slowly and steadily getting back her bearing after recovering from a serious knee injury which affected her Olympic campaign three months back, will lead India’s campaign in the women’s singles event. She also participated in recent Hong Kong Open in which she went till the quarter-final stage, showing a steady improvement in her fitness. The former World No. 1 Indian, will take on Indonesia’s Hanna Ramadini in the opening round.

In the men’s singles category, Sameer Verma, who was in the spotlight after reaching the finals at Hong Kong, is also participating in the tournament. He will take on Milan Ludik of Czech in the opening round. It would be a sort of comeback for Commonwealth Games P Kashyap, who had taken a break after the Denmark Open. “After Dutch Open I was not feeling that fit and though I played Denmark, I decided to take a break to get back my full fitness and make some changes to my game. So I got around 4-5 weeks and I worked hard with Gopi, so looking forward for a good week ahead,” Kashyap told PTI.

Among other Indians in the fray, third seeds Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will face Hong Kong’s Chan Alan Yun Lung and Li Kuen Hon in the men’s doubles categories. Jwala Gutta with Manu Attri will take on Satrya Aditha and Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella of Indonesia the mixed doubles category.