Singles ace HS Prannoy will spearhead the Indian challenge at the Indonesian Masters Super 500 badminton tournament beginning here on Tuesday after the pull-out of crack doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty Having finished runners-up in back-to-back tournaments of Malaysia Super 1000 and India Open Super 750, the reigning Asian Games champions have given the tournament a miss with an eye on their workload with a gruelling season ahead of them.
The duo’s absence may have taken some sheen of the tournament, but world No. 9 Prannoy will look to keep the Indian flag high continuing his consistent run.
Prannoy is only seeded Indian player at No. 7 in the men’s singles draw of 32 as he will begin his campaign against Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, against whom the Indian has a 4-1 win-loss record.
The world No. 11 Yew’s solitary win against Prannoy was at the 2021 World Championships and since then the Indian has won twice in a row with the last coming in bronze-medal winning run at the last year’s World Championship.
Besides the that coveted bronze medal, Prannoy won the Malaysia Masters and finished second in the Australian Open last year.
He has been at his consistent best and had a last-four after being ousted by eventual champion Yu Qi Shi of China in the Indian Open last week.
Before that, Prannoy made an opening round exit in the Malaysia Open Super 1000
The other Indian, who will be in focus will be world No. 19 Lakshya Sen, looking to end his opening round jinx, when he is up against Weng Hong Yang of China.
The world No. 16 Chinese has a 3-2 win-loss ratio against the young Indian and goes into the match on the back of his Malaysia Open win less than two weeks back.
Since his Canada Open triumph last year, Sen has been on a downward spiral and has capped eight opening round exits in a row.
Last week, Sen lost to his Indian teammate Priyanshu Rajawat in the Indian Open as the former World No 8 will look to find his mojo.
World Bo. 25 Kidambi Srikanth is also in fray and will face Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, while 30th ranked Rajawat will be up against Rasmus Gemke of Denmark.
In Chirag and Satwik’s absence, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will be the lone Indians in fray in men’s doubles as they will be up against Malaysia’s Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin in the opening round.
No Indians will be fray in the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events.