Syed Modi International: Large scale withdrawals leave Carolina Marin, Shi Yuqi as firm favourites

Home interest will revolve around K. Srikanth, B. Sai Praneeth, H. S. Prannoy, defending champion Sameer Verma, Sourabh Verma and young Lakshya Sen.

In and out | P.V Sindhu, like a hoard of other shuttlers, has decided to give the Syed Modi International a miss, making Carolina Marin a ready favourite.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Hit by large-scale last-minute withdrawals of several seeded players, including the top three in women singles and doubles, this annual edition of the $150,000 Syed Modi International badminton tournament has lost much of its sheen.

A day after indicating her decision to pull out of the 2020 Premier Badminton League, third Saina Nehwal acted on much expected lines and chose to stay away from the event. This year, Saina has been battling health issues leading to her current poor form.

READ : Gopichand on Sindhu's form: 'Tough last two months' result of hectic scheduling

In men’s singles, the pullout of second seed Ng Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong) and last year's finalist, sixth seed Lu Guanzu (China) should help the cause of a full-strength Indian presence when the main draw action commences on Wednesday.

The quality of the field has been largely impacted by withdrawal of the Chinese players, mostly women. World No. 7 and top seed He Bingjiao, World No. 20 and sixth seed, defending champion Han Yue along with eighth seed and World No. 22 Cai Yanyan have pulled out.

Second seed from Canada, Li Michelle has also followed suit.  Worse, in women’s doubles, Chinese withdrawals meant the starting-field was without to the top three and the fifth seeded combinations.

Considering that this event is low on priority for those chasing ranking points needed to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, China had surprisingly entered its four best combinations, led by World No. 1 Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.

Three seeds in mixed doubles and one in men doubles have also withdrawn. On the brighter side, the presence of Olympic women singles champion Carolina Marin and the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals winner, World No. 7 Shi Yuqi should raise spectator interest.

Marin is currently ranked 18th in the world following a comeback from a knee-injury suffered during the Indonesia Masters final against Saina in January.

Largely, the home interest will revolve in singles around K. Srikanth, B. Sai Praneeth, H. S. Prannoy, defending champion Sameer Verma, Sourabh Verma and young Lakshya Sen.

The upbeat combination of World No. 13, second seed Satvik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, women duo of eighth seed Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy, now ranked 30th, besides the unseeded mixed pair of Satvik and Ashwini are the best home-bets in doubles.