Badminton

US Open: 2017 finalists Prannoy, Kashyap to skip event; Sameer, Manu-Sumeeth lead India’s challenge

HS Prannoy, the defending champion, is mindful of the hectic schedule ahead.

Sameer Verma and Ajay Jayaram will lead the Indian challenge in the men’s singles draw at the US Open World Tour Super 300 in the absence of defending champion HS Prannoy and last year’s finalist Parupalli Kashyap, with the tournament starting at Fullerton on Tuesday.

In men’s doubles category, all eyes will be on the second-seeded pair of Attri Manu and B Sumeeth Reddy, who reached the semi-final at the Australian Open not too long back and are enjoying a surge in their rankings. England’s Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge are the top seeds in the event.

World No 8 Prannoy has decided to skip the event to be in best shape for the upcoming hectic schedule including the USD 700,000 Malaysia Open, USD 1,250,000 Indonesia Open, World Championship and Asian Games.

But skipping a tournament he won also means Prannoy will lose a lot of ranking points, something which he is prepared to deal with. “I am not at all worried about the ranking. It will go and it will come back to the same spot. I am not thinking about it,” Prannoy told the Times of India.

Kashyap, on the other hand, is recovering from a stress fracture on his shin that he suffered after the Austria Open in February.

“Just after Orleans GP it got aggravated and I had to stop playing. I was back on court a few weeks back. I hope to play in Thailand,” Kashyap told PTI.

Jayaram, who is on a comeback trail since recovering from a hamstring injury that took nearly eight months to heal, will eye a good outing when he begins his campaign against a qualifier here.

In the women’s singles competition, Anura Prabhudesai will fight it out with Canada’s Rachel Honderich and Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka meets second seeded Japanese Sayaka Sato.

In the qualifiers here, K Ajay Kumar will face Canada’s Timothy Chiu in men’s singles. He will pair up with his men’s doubles partner Hari Kiran Chereddi to take on the local combine of Clay Tobaw Gilmour and Grimaldy Navirio Gunawan.

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