Momota’s pullout leaves HK Open field open

HONG KONG • Kidambi Srikanth was the biggest beneficiary of badminton world No. 1 Kento Momota's shock withdrawal from the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday night.

The 13th-ranked Indian had been scheduled to face the Japanese in the first round yesterday, but instead, he progressed to today's second-round encounter with compatriot Sourabh Verma following the walkover.

Momota had been the hot favourite coming into the tournament.

He had equalled retired Malaysian star Lee Chong Wei's record of seven Superseries singles titles – that is at least a Super 500 level – in a calendar year following his Fuzhou China Open win last Sunday.

While no official reasons were given for his pullout, with the player also not commenting on his social media pages, the International Business Times said it was because he "needs some rest".

For now, his absence leaves the Hong Kong Open field wide open.

In the other selected first-round men's singles matches yesterday, China's Chen Long and Wang Tzu-wei of Chinese Taipei both advanced to set up a last-16 meeting with each other.

The former beat Indonesian Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 21-18, 21-18 while the latter defeated India's Sameer Verma 21-11, 13-21, 21-8.

In the women's draw, P.V. Sindhu reached the second roRead More – Source