India's second seed Saina Nehwal will carry home hopes in the women's tournament at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Syed Modi International after top seed PV Sindhu withdrew.
Sindhu, the Olympic, world, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games silver medallist, and currently third in the BWF rankings, was ranked first for the BWF World Tour Super 300 event in Lucknow, which carries prize money of $150,000 (£116,000/€131,000).
However, she has withdrawn from the event at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium to focus attention on the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in China next month.
Nehwal, a former world number one who is now 11th in the rankings, is the only other Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal – in her case a bronze at the London 2012 Games.
The home representation in the women’s singles is strong, with 17 out of the current 32 places occupied by Indian players, and with eight other Indian players contesting four qualification places.
The home nation will also be represented by 12 of the 32 men's singles entries.
A host of home players are also involved in the challenge to earn one of the four qualifying places.
India's Commonwealth silver medallist Srikanth Kidambi, who briefly reached the number one world ranking earlier this year, was top seed but has also withdrawn.
It means that HS Prannoy, a fellow member of India's victorious Commonwealth mixed team champions from Gold Coast 2018, is the player to beat as the second seed.
Defending champion Sameer Verma, also of India, is seeded third.
Action begins tomorrow.