Syed Modi International: Saina, Srikanth, Ashwini join long list of withdrawals

As though the news of newly-crowned India Open champions Lakshya Sen and the menโ€™s duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty pulling out of the $150,000 Syed Modi International badminton tournament was not disappointing enough, K. Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa joined the long list of withdrawals late on Monday.

After a long managersโ€™ meeting in Lucknow on the eve of the event, it came to light that P. V. Sindhu was the only top seed left in the draw across five events.

As a result, when the tournament commences at the Babu Banarasi Das Stadium on Tuesday, most draws will resemble a National championship, with a different name.

The menโ€™s and womenโ€™s singles draws were the worst hit. With the top three seeds Srikanth, Lakshya, B. Sai Praneeth, in addition to P. Kashyap and Canadaโ€™s Brian Yang, seeded six and eight, staying away, fourth seed Sameer Verma is the favourite to regain the title. His main challengers will be H. S. Prannoy and elder sibling Sourabh Verma, seeded five and seven.

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Similarly, in the womenโ€™s singles, Sindhu, Evgeniya Kosetskaya (Russia) and Supanida Katethong (Thailand), seeded one, five and six, are the survivors from the original list of seeds. Seeds two to four – Canadaโ€™s Li Michelle, Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min and Saina – along with Iris Wang (USA) and Jordan Hart (Poland), seeded seven and eight, are the main absentees.

Lakshya Sen withdraws from Syed Modi International

Sindhu, an overwhelming favourite in such a depleted field, is likely to get an opportunity to avenge the recent loss suffered to India Open finalist Supanida.

Similarly, four seeded pairs headed by Satwik and Shetty are out of the menโ€™s doubles draw. Even in womenโ€™s doubles, favourite Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy head the list of four missing seeds.

Ashwini, like Srikanth, tested positive for Covid in Delhi last week.

In mixed doubles, top seeded Russians Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova led the withdrawals of three seeds.

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