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Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 5:53:00 PM
Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 5:56:06 PM
by kng zheng guan
Intanon Ratchanok is reported to have suffered a lower back injury. She conceded a walkover to local qualifier Shizuka Uchida in the first round of the Japan Open. – EPA Photo
PETALING JAYA: A packed schedule and niggling injuries have resulted in the Japan Open losing two of badminton’s top women’s singles stars, with world No. 1 Li Xuerui of China and world No. 2 Intanon Ratchanok of Thailand pulling out of the tournament.
Xuerui, who lost in the China Masters semi-finals last week, was suffering from pain in her left knee and consulted the tournament doctor on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old top seed then withdrew before her first-round match against 17-year-old Japanese Aya Ohori – the reigning Asian Junior champion.
Xuerui’s team-mate, men’s world No. 10 Wang Zhengming, told AFP that her withdrawal was probably because of their packed schedule.
“All the members of the Chinese team, including me, have a tight schedule filled with matches,” said Zhengming, who claimed his maiden Super Series title last week by bagging the China Masters.
“I think she probably had an old injury that was hurting again because of fatigue.”
Intanon, who stunned the world by beating Xuerui to clinch the world title last month – a first for Thailand, is also bogged down by injuries.
The 18-year-old is reported to have suffered a lower back injury and missed the All-Thailand National Championships and China Masters.
She conceded a walkover to local qualifier Shizuka Uchida in the first round in Tokyo.
In the absence of Xuerui and Intanon, world No. 5 Wang Yihan is the highest ranked player left in the fray.
World No. 7 Wang Shixian, world No. 8 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan and India’s rising star P.V. Sindhu will be the main challengers for the title while Japan’s world No. 9 Mitani Minatsu will shoulder the home challenge.
Tags / Keywords:
badminton, Japan Open, Li Xuerui, Intanon Ratchanok
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