The organisers were in for a shock as second-seeded Maria Febe Kusumastuti of Indonesia, fourth-seeded Jeanine Cicognini of Switzerland and sixth-seeded Aditi Mutatkar of India pulled out of women's singles even as the qualifying rounds of the Indian Open Grand Prix badminton championship got underway at Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

The pull-out of 21-year-old Kusumastuti, a semifinalist in the recent Indonesian Open, is a major blow considering the already depleted field.

Even in men's singles, sixth-seeded Andre Kunaiwan Tedjono of Indonesian and unseeded Y. Chen of Singapore withdrew from the event being held in memory of former National champion Syed Modi. No official reasons were given for these pull-outs.

Unruffled by all these developments, 15-year-old Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, fresh from her fine ‘double' in the recent junior Nationals in Yanam, was seen sharing knowledge and apparently invaluable inputs with World No. 4 Saina Nehwal, who was at the venue for the inaugural ceremony.

Sindhu is all set

“This is a big event and I am keen to make optimum use of playing in front of the home crowd,” said the youngster who is highly rated by chief National coach Pullela Gopi Chand.

“She has the game and the determination and this event is a big test for her,” he asserted.

Sindhu, who is geared up to take on Bangladesh's Alina Sultana in the first round of women's singles on Wednesday, was a quarterfinalist in the last edition of the Syed Modi memorial in Lucknow.

In the women's singles final qualifying round, three Indians — Tanvi Lad, Dahinje Mudra and Sanyogita Ghorpade scored easy wins to make it to the main draw.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy played a few rallies to formally inaugurate the event.

Qualifying: Final round:

Women's singles: Tanvi Lad (Ind) bt Akter Rozina (Ban) 21-4, 21-4; Dahinje Mudra (Ind) bt K. Jaqueline Rose (Ind) 21-14, 21-3; Sanyogita Ghorpade (Ind) bt Haldar Dulali (Ban) 21-6, 21-14; Alina Sultana (Ban) bt Tamang Sara Devi 19-16 retd.

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