World number 23 HS Prannoy is India's best bet for winning a Grand Prix title at Canada Open 2017, starting Tuesday, July 11 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.
Prannoy would have had a good company in third seed and former national champion Sameer Verma, but the 23-year-old was forced to pull out after failing to secure a visa in time. However, fit-again Parupalli Kashyap, who is seeded 16th at the event, will be looking to get back to winning ways in Calgary.
All eyes will though be on Prannoy, who is among the title favourites at the Grand Prix event. The former world number 12 was in fine form at Premier Badminton League, winning all seven rubbers he featured for the Mumbai Rockets. However, a foot and knee injury he suffered soon after hampered his preparations for the tournaments in the early part of the ongoing season.
However, the 24-year-old, after missing Singapore and Malaysia Open action, made a strong return to court at Indonesia Superseries Premier last month, beating the likes of world number two Lee Chong Wei and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long en route to the semi-final, in which he lost to Japan's Kazumasa Sakai.
An early exit at Australian Open followed, but Prannoy seems to be in a good frame of mind ahead of a week-long-action in Calgary.
"I am happy with the way things are going now. I am happy the way I come back after each injury and I might not have won a tournament but I always believe something big will happen and when things do not go my way, I am patient enough to hang in there," Prannoy told the Times of India.
Prannoy handed tough draw
The world number 23, who last won an international title at Swiss Grand Prix Gold last year, will take on world number 165 Job Castillo of Mexico in the opening round on Wednesday, July 12.
However, Prannoy faces a tough road ahead as he is set to face eighth seed Sakai in the quarter-final.
Fit-again Kashyap in focus
On the other hand, Kashyap, another top-shuttler from India who has been on the receiving end of injury concerns this season, will begin his campaign with an easy outing against Peru teenager Daniel Torre Regal, who is ranked 307.
Apart from the two seed shuttlers, rising star Harsheel Dani, Abhishek Yelegar, Lakhanee Sarang and Karan Rajan are part of the Men's singles Indian contingent.
In the absence of top-ranked Women's singles star PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, national champion Rituparna Das will lead the country's campaign. World number 58 Gadde Ruthvika Shivani will also look to make an impact at the Grand Prix event.
Defending Men's doubles champions Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy are seeded third at the event while Mixed doubles pair Sikki Reddy/Pranaav Jerry Chopra will begin as the second seeds.
Key matches to look out for on Tuesday, July 11
Parupalli Kashyap vs Daniel Torre Regal
Time: 3:35am IST (Wednesday)
Hs Prannoy vs Job Castillo
Time: 6:25am IST (Wednesday)
Live scores of the tournament can be found on BWF's official website.