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Syed Modi tourney wears a deserted look

Good news: Carolina Marin’s presence gives fans something to look forward to.

Good news: Carolina Marin’s presence gives fans something to look forward to.   | Photo Credit: CLAUS FISKER

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Large-scale withdrawals leave Marin among favourites.

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

A day after pulling out of the 2020 Premier Badminton League, Saina Nehwal, who has been battling injuries, announced her decision to stay away from the event.

In men’s singles, the absence 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 the withdrawal of Chinese players, mostly women. World No. 7 and top seed He Bingjiao, World No. 20, sixth seed and defending champion Han Yue along with eighth seed and World No. 22 Cai Yanyan have pulled out.

The second seed from Canada, Li Michelle, has also followed suit.

Worse, in women’s doubles, Chinese withdrawals meant the starting-field was without the top three and fifth-seeded combinations.

Considering that this event is low 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Three seeds in mixed doubles and one in men’s doubles have also withdrawn.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 World No. 18 on comeback from a knee-injury suffered during the Indonesia Masters final against Saina in January.

Home interest

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’s 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.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:04:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/syed-modi-tourney-wears-a-deserted-look/article30090404.ece

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