After Premier Badminton League (PBL), Indian badminton Saina Nehwal pulled out of Syed Modi International, beginning in Lucknow on Tuesday. Saina, a three-time world champion, who has been battling illness and injuries, is going through a bad patch, having lost six times in the first round this season.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old world champion PV Sindhu too has chosen to give the tournament a miss. The absence of Saina and Sindhu gives a good chance to 18-year-old Lakshya Sen, who will look to grab his maiden Super 300 crown this week following his title triumphs at two Super 100 events – Dutch and SaarLorLux Open – this year.
Lakshya is coming into the tournament after securing his fourth title in last three months at the Scottish Open. The Indian, who has been in Denmark for a two and half month training-cum-competition stint, claimed title wins at the Belgian International and Dutch and SaarLorLux Open.
Lakshya is now set to break into the world top 40 following his title win at Glasgow on Sunday and he will look for another good outing here when he opens against France’s Thomas Rouxel.
The spotlight will also be on the men’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who won the Thailand Open Super 500 title and then reached the finals of French Open Super 750 this season.
A host of Indian shuttlers, including 2016 winner Kidambi Srikanth, defending champion Sameer Verma and world championship bronze-medallist B Sai Praneeth, will eye the top spot in the men’s singles this week.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who grabbed the title in 2012 and 2015, will lock horns with France’s Lucas Corvee, while HS Prannoy crosses swords with China’s Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Li Shi Feng.