Finding some form after a string of below-par performances, sixth seed Srikanth Kidambi will look for another good outing at the Korea Masters Super 300 tournament, while Saina Nehwal pulled out of the event which starts with the qualifiers in Gwangju on Tuesday.
After going through a tough phase since his final finish at the India Open this year, Srikanth boosted his confidence with a semi-final run at the Hong Kong Open last week, even with a dash of fortune to get there (he received a opening round bye against Kento Momota).
Incidentally, a spate of withdrawals at the tournament sees Srikanth as the second highest seed remaining in the first round, with the top four seeds not featuring in the round of 32.
It was his first appearance at the last four stage since the India Open and the 26-year-old will be keen to continue the good run when he opens against Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent (world No 36) in the men’s singles.
Overall, world No 13 Srikanth enjoys a 10-3 head-to-head record against Wong Wing Ki, who is on a comeback trail after losing his father in August. The Indian has won the last five matches on the trot against his first round opponent.
World No 9 Nehwal, who has made early exits in a series of tournaments recently, decided to skip the event but she is likely to feature at the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 in Lucknow next week.
With Nehwal’s withdrawal, there is no Indian participation in women’s singles. In fact, only men’s singles category has Indian shuttlers in contention.
Among other Indians in the fray, world No 16 Sameer Verma takes on Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai after top seed Chinese Shi Yu Qi pulled out, while his elder brother Sourabh Verma will face a qualifier in Korea’s Kim Donghun. Sourabh is ranked 76 places above the Korean shuttler (112). This will be their first meeting on the tour.
For Sameer, it will be his fifth meeting with world No 63 Sakai. The head-to-head stands at 2-2 at the moment.
Shubhankar Dey was also one of the many shuttlers who pulled out from the tournament on Monday.
No Indian is taking part in any of the doubles categories.
(Clarification: The article has been updated with details of the update draw since being first published)
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