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Denmark Open – The first step back

What a return it looks set to be.  

For seven long months, the absence of international sport has been felt across the globe. 

A number of the world’s leading badminton players are set to arrive in Odense next week for the DANISA Denmark Open, following rigorous health and safety measures being put in place to ensure the welfare of all involved.  

With the entry list continuing to change dailyat the time of publication, the standard remains high as the world’s leading players look set to experience their first taste of international competition for many months.  

In the men’s singles draw, All England champion Viktor Axelsen misses out, following minor surgery on his right ankle.  

However, Indian sixth seed Kidambi Srikanth, winner in 2017, will be looking to improve on his recent inconsistent form.  

The Super 750 event is also welcoming many junior players who are transiting through the ranks, following the withdrawal of several top teams, including Indonesia, China and Malaysia.  

Christo Popov from France faces fellow youngster India’s Lakshya Sen in a singles match that looks set to go all the way.  

Impress  

With the 2020 All England women’s singles finalists not travelling, Spain’s Carolina Marin will be intent on success, with the Danish title having so far eluded her 

Japan’s top seed Nozomi Okuhara will be out to steal the show following teammate Akane Yamaguchi’s last-minute withdrawal.  

Favourites for the women’s doubles title are All England champions Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota however with world champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara as second seeds, it will not be plain sailing for either pair.    

Do not write off Bulgarian sibling duo Stefani Stoeva and Gabriela Stoeva either – they always seem to find form in competition environments.  

The men’s doubles event has seen a last-minute overhaul, with Japan withdrawing their leading pairs.  

Danish duo Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen are ranked as fourth seeds and will be keen to impress on home turf.  

All England semi-finalistsLauren Smith and Marcus Ellis, will be looking to return to their consistent form as they take on German duo Jones Ralfy Jansen and Kilasu Ostermeyer in their opening mixed doubles match.  

We’ve not had elite badminton action in far too long – over to you Denmark.