Tokyo: Saina Nehwal has decided to give it a miss, while Parupalli Kashyap will also skip the Japan Open due to an ankle injury and in their absence young P V Sindhu will spearhead the Indian challenge at the USD 200,000 Super Series tournament, starting here on Tuesday.
Tired after the hectic Indian Badminton League (IBL), Saina decided to take rest but Kashyap was forced to pull out at the last moment as he could not recover from his ankle injury, which he suffered during the IBL.
"I`m not playing the Japan Open as I could not recover from the ankle injury I had suffered during the IBL," Kashyap told PTI.
With the senior shuttlers missing in action, all eyes will be on World No 10 Sindhu, who will be playing in her first international tournament after winning the prestigious bronze medal at the World Championship in China.
Sindhu, seeded eighth, will take on two qualifiers in the first two rounds and is likely to make it to the last eight stage without much ado.
In the quarterfinals, the 18-year-old from Hyderabad, in all probability, would face World No.1 and Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China.
A year ago, Sindhu had defeated the Chinese during the 2012 China Masters in Changzhou but Xuerui will always prove to be a very tough customer to get across, considering her exploits at the world stage.
In women`s singles, Tanvi Lad, ranked No.77 in the world, will give Sindhu company. The Mumbai girl will take on Japanese World No.20 Sayaka Takahashi in her opening round at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
In the men`s singles competition, however, there will be as many as six Indians taking part.
In absence of Kashyap, world number 23 Ajay Jayaram will lead the charge, taking on Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the first round, while Sai Praneeth B will be up against eight seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong.
Sourabh Varma will clash with a qualifier. The other three Indians, who have been promoted from qualifiers are Anand Pawar, H S Prannoy and K Srikanth.
Srikanth, who won the Thailand Grand Prix gold this year and was in rollicking form in IBL, will open his campaign against Sho Sasaki of Japan, Prannoy will face Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong and Pawar will take on Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the opening round.
In men`s doubles, B Sumeet Reddy and Manu Attri will fight it out against local pair of Hiroyuki Saeki and Ryota Taohata in the first round.
However, there are no Indians in the fray in the women`s and mixed doubles competition.