Kidambi Srikanth, one of India’s top badminton players, withdrew from the Australian Open Super 300 badminton tournament starting Tuesday. Before Srikanth, Lakshya Sen and doubles specialists Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have also pulled out of the $180,000 prize money tournament. Ranked 10th in the Race to Guangzhou rankings, Srikanth will need to win the tournament to make it to the season-ending World Tour Finals in December.
The 29-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games, decided to pull out of the tournament. He played an important role in India getting the Thomas Cup title. Srikanth had played his last tournament at the Hilo Open in Saarbrücken, Germany and reached the semi-finals. He had managed to reach the last four of Korea Open and Swiss Open this season. With Srikanth withdrawing from the tournament, it became clear that only HS Prannoy would stake claim for India in the World Tour Finals.
Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu has already pulled out of the World Tour Finals. India’s challenge at the Australian Open will be led by Sameer Verma, who is making a comeback from a prolonged injury. He will open his campaign against Nathan Tang. Formerly ranked 11th in the world rankings, Sameer has won three BWF tournaments – Swiss Open, Hyderabad Open and Syed Modi International. He lost his momentum and continued to suffer from injury after the game was stopped due to Kovid-19.
Mithun Manjunath, who has reached the finals of two international tournaments in Nagpur and Bengaluru besides the Orleans Masters Super 100 event, will begin his campaign against second seed Loh Keen Yew of Singapore here. In women’s singles, Tanya Hemant will face Malaysia’s Goh Wei and Anvesha Gowda will face local player Pichaiya Alicia Wiravong. In the doubles category, the women’s pair of Simran Sanghi and Ritika Thakkar, besides the men’s pair of Hariharan Amsakrunan and Ruban Kumar Rathinsabapathy will present the challenge for India.