Srikanth withdraws from the Australian Open. Sameer, Mithun in the fray | Jobi Cool

Star Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth has pulled out of the Australian Open Super 300 badminton tournament, which begins here on Tuesday.

Srikanth thus joined Lakshya Sen and the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankred and Chirag Shetty to walk out of the US$180,000 tournament.

Ranked 10th in Guangzhou, Srikanth needed to win the tournament to have any hopes of qualifying for the World Tour Finals in December.

But the 29-year-old Guntur, who won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and also played a heroic role in India’s epic Thomas Cup run this year, decided to give it a miss.

Srikanth had reached the semi-finals in his last tournament at the Hylo Open in Saarbrucken, Germany. The Indian has finished in the last four at the Korea Open and the Swiss Open.

His withdrawal means that HS Prannoy will be India’s sole representative in the World Tour finals, especially after two-time Olympic medalist P.V. Sindhu also pulled out of the Guangzhou event on Sunday.

India’s challenge at the Australian Open will be spearheaded by Sameer Verma, who returns from a long injury layoff. He will open his campaign against Nathan Tang.

Sameer, who is the former world no. At 11, he had won three BWF tournaments – Swiss Open, Hyderabad Open and Syed Modi International 2018 – to qualify for the World Tour Finals, but he lost his rhythm after that, followed by a break due to COVID.

His comeback was short-lived last year as he had to retire in the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open with a calf injury. He also had hip and shoulder problems.

He was in good touch during the three-match win against the world No.1. 8 Antony Sinisuka Ginting at the French Open.

Mithun Manjunath, who reached the final of the Masters Super 100 in Orleans and two international challenges in Nagpur and Bengaluru, will contest the second seed against Singapore’s Loh Kin Yew.

In the women’s singles, Tanya Hemant will take on Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei while Anvesha Gowda will take on local player Pitchaya Elysia Wirawong.

The women’s pair of Simran Singhi and Ritika Thackeray and the men’s pair of Hariharan Amsakaruna and Ruban Kumar Retinasabapati will also compete in the doubles.

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