Indian men’s doubles pair S Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pulled out of the Thailand Masters

The fourth tournament on the BWF Tour of this year, the Thailand Masters is set to kickstart on 31st January 2023. The BWF Super 300 tournament will take place at the Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok and will be played till February 5. The 2023 Thailand Masters has a total prize of US$210,000. The Thailand Masters makes its return after two years and is set to feature top seeds like Indian Open champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn, Lu Guangzhu, Ratchanok Intanon, and Carolina Marin. Among the Indians, Saina Nehwal will headline the action in women’s singles while Tokyo Olympian Sai Praneeth will compete for the men’s singles title.

Commonwealth Games champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will miss the Thailand Open Super 300 badminton tournament after the former failed to completely recover from his hip injury suffered recently. Satwik sustained the injury during the India Open Super 750 tournament earlier this month and was forced to withdraw midway from the tournament in New Delhi.

Chirag, one-half of the world no.6 pair admitted that his partner’s injury has not healed yet, so they will not be playing in Thailand. Chirag further said that they are targeting the All England Open Championships, which will be held in March 2023. The Indian doubles pair was scheduled to face Chinese Taipei’s Su Ching Heng and Ye Hong Wei in the opening round.

Since the top-seeded Indian duo pulled out of Thailand Masters, world no.34 Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala will now lead the Indian challenge in men’s doubles. Krishna admitted that they are playing at a good level in Super 100 and 300 tournaments but they have to deliver more skills to experience victory in bigger tournaments.

The 22-year-old shuttler said that getting into the top 20 this year is a short-term target for the Indian duo. Krishna stated that their attacking plans are really working well but a major setback is not being consistent. He and his partner need to work a lot on that to reach greater heights.

Former Singapore Open champion Praneeth will face an uphill task against second seed Lu Guang Zu of China. Sameer Verma, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from injury, will square off against another Chinese sixth-seed Li Shi Feng. Mithun Manjunath will cross the sword with fifth seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan. Manjunath, who finished as a finalist in the Orleans Masters Super 300 last year, would hope for a similar finish in the Thailand Masters.