The draw for the Yonex European Badminton Championships has thrown up the prospect of an action replay if defending mixed doubles champion Anthony Clark and new partner Heather Olver win their opening match of next week’s tournament in the M.E. N. Arena in Manchester.
Clark and Olver, who start against Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee, can expect to meet Polish second seeds Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk, the pair that Clark and Donna Kellogg (Derby) beat to win the gold medal in Herning, Denmark, two years ago.
And the winners of that second-round clash could find themselves up against England’s Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork in the semi-finals. England’s third seeds are in the same half of the draw.
But that’s just one highlight in what promises to be an exciting tournament in Manchester from April 14-18 as the Yonex European Badminton Championships complete a North-West double following the successful European Team Championships staged in Liverpool in February last year.
Here is an event-by-event look at some of the matches the draw has thrown up . . .
Denmark’s top seed and four-times champion Peter Gade opens with a bye before facing Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees in the second round.
England’s two seeds, Rajiv Ouseph (Middx) and Carl Baxter (Avon), both begin with byes while Andrew Smith (Hants) must take on Hungary’s Henrik Toth. Smith is on course for a repeat of his Olympic clash with Marc Zweibler. The German third seed beat him in three games in the second round in Beijing and they are on course for a last 16 clash in Manchester.
Fourth seed Ouseph’s first test comes with a second-round clash against Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner whlle Poland’s 2008 bronze medallist Przemyslaw Wacha could meet him in the last 16.
Eighth seed Baxter has the best of the England draws and could expect to come right through to the last eight and a likely clash with Gade.
Second seed and 2008 bronze medallist Jan O Jorgensen can expect to meet sixth seed and Herning silver medallist Joachim Persson in an all-Danish quarter-final.
Yonex All England champion Tine Rasmussen starts her bid for a first European title when the 2008 runner-up with a bye followed by a clash with Croatia’s Andrea Zvorc. Her first big test could come in the quarter-finals where she would expect to meet Scotland’s Commonwealth bronze medallist Susan Egelstaff.
France’s top seed and 2008 bronze medallist Pi Hongyan’s first test should come in the last eight with a likely clash against fifth seed Petya Nedelcheva. But the Bulgarian may have to get past England’s four-times National champion Elizabeth Cann (Jersey) in the third round. England’s Helen Davies (Cheshire) starts against Alesia Zaitsava of Belarus in the first round with a win earning a clash with France’s Elisa Chanteur or Nathalie Descamps.
The draw also throws up the promise of a quarter-final clash between third seed and 2008 bronze medallist Juliane Schenk of Germany and Dutch seventh seed Judith Meulendijks. Just as exciting is the possible last eight contest between former champion and 2008 bronze medallist Yao Jie of Holland and Russian sixth seed Ella Diehl, who last month reached the Swiss Open semi-finals by beating world champion Lu Lan.
Top seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen will be keen to make up for their Yonex All England disappointment when they enter the men’s doubles as favourites. And the draw favoured them by avoiding third seeds Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson (both Notts).
England’s Singapore Open winners have been drawn in the same half as Birmingham winners and 2003 world champions Lars Paaske an Jonas Rasmussen, the defending champions. Clark and Robertson start against France’s Laurent Constantin and Sebastien Vincent and can then expect to face an all-English challenge against Peter Mills (Notts) and Marcus Ellis (Yorks) in the second round.
Chris Langridge (Surrey) and Robin Middleton (Yorks) face a likely second round clash against fourth seeds Kasper Faust Henriksen and Anders Kristiansen of Denmark.
Paaske and Rasmussen, benefiting from a first-round bye, will begin their defence against either Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov or young Scottish pair Martin Campbell and Angus Gilmour. After that they can expect to face England’s fourth pair in the draw, Chris Adcock (Notts) and Robert Blair (Leics).
Top seeds Petya Nedelcheva and Anastasia Russkikh, the Bulgarian-Russian pairing, could face a tough second-round test if they run into Dutch pair Lotte Jonathan and Paulien Van Dooremalen.
Further down the line they could face Denmark’s defending champion Lena Frier Kristiansen and new partner Marie Roepke in the last eight.
England’s Mariana Agathangelou (Avon) and Heather Olver (Sussex)) face a tough opener against Russia’s Tatjana Bibik and Olga Golovanova while Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White (both Yorks) must overcome Emma Calow and Sinead Chambers of Ireland before facing the winners of the first-round clash between Sandra Marinello and Birgit Overzier of Germany and Dutch pair Samantha Barning and Eefke Muskens.
Second seeds Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova begin with a bye before the Ruassians take on either Rachel and Sarah Thomas of Wales or Alzbeta Basova and Sarka Kriskova of the Czech Republic.
England’s hopes are high in their traditionally strong discipline of mixed doubles. World No 16 pair Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork begin against Welsh pair Joe Morgan and Kerry Ann Sheppard but they will be pleased to be in the opposite half to world champions and top seeds Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who begin their title bid against Bulgarian pair Stilian Makarski and Diana Dimova – with England’s sixth seeds Robin Middleton and Mariana Agathangelou possible quarter-final obstacles.
But the match of the early rounds could come as early as day two when defending champion Anthony Clark and new partner Heather Olver are likely to face Polish second seeds Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk.
Clark and Donna Kellogg beat the Poles in the final two years ago – and Clark and Olver beat them in their first match together in the opening round of the Malaysian Open in January. The winner of this second-round clash may well face Robertson and Wallwork in the quarter-finals.
The first-round action starts on Wednesday (10am) with play in men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles. The Championships reaches a climax on Sunday April 18.
The full draw can be viewed on www.europeanbadminton.com or www.tournamentsoftware.com
For further information and accreditation contact Championships media officer William Kings (0044) 7787 515353