Day One Preview: YONEX All England set to begin
By Tom Harle in Birmingham
The time for talking is finally over with a glut of glittering first-round match-ups raising the curtain on the 115th edition of the YONEX All England Open.
Among the pick of them comes in men’s singles with 2022 finalist Lakshya Sen and fifth seed Chou Tien-chen pitted together in the sixth match on Court 1.
The Indian, 21, won men’s singles gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham but has since been searching for form after nasal surgery disrupted his progress at the end of 2022.
Reigning YONEX All England champion Viktor Axelsen starts his quest for a third title against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, the penultimate clash on Court 1.
2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew starts early on Court 2, facing Zhao Jun Peng of China, with an all-Danish clash following later between Anders Antonsen and Rasmus Gemke.
Third seed Anthony Ginting will have to watch his step against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand – they have met nine times with the Indonesian edging the head-to-head 5-4.
The first chapter in a fascinating women’s singles draw sees Olympic champion Chen Yufei take on Michelli Li of Canada in the opening match on Court 2.
Her team-mate Wang Zhi Yi, seeded sixth here, begins on Court 4 against Saena Kawakami and 2021 All England champion Nozomi Okuhara takes on Pornpawee Chochuwong as she aims to reverse her poor run of recent form.
Reigning men’s doubles champions Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana will christen Court 1 and clash with South Korea’s Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang.
The host nation’s challenge begins with Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith in the women’s doubles and their first-ever meeting with USA’s Srivedya Gurazada and Ishika Jaiswal, the second match on Court 1.
Smith and mixed doubles partner Marcus Ellis round off the action on that court with a tie against Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya of Japan.
Among the other eye-catching doubles ties sees women’s doubles fifth seeds Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia face Japan’s world No.11 pairing Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.
China’s dominant women’s doubles duo of Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan open up against a Japanese pairing, Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi.
Aside from the usual suspects, among the top European hopes will be Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue in mixed doubles with the French pair starting off against Ko Sung Hyun and Eom Hye Won.
Olympic mixed doubles champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong tested their credentials against European opposition in Denmark’s Mathias Thryrri and Amalie Magelund.
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