The luck of the draw in Korea and Malaysia deserted England’s top two men’s singles players as they prepare to start the fourth year of BWF World Super Series action this week.
Hampshire’s Andrew Smith faces Malaysian top seed Lee Chong Wei in Wednesday’s first round of the Korean Open in Seoul while Middlesex’s two-time English National champion Rajiv Ouseph, who defends his title in Manchester next month, will face Dutchman Eric Pang.
A win there will probably earn world No. 24 Ouseph a second-round clash with second seed and defending champion Peter Gade of Denmark.
England’s third singles hope Carl Baxter of Avon, the world No. 39, meets seventh seed Long Chen of China.
England have only seven players competing in Korea with Leeds pair Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork, who are ranked at No. 23 in the world in women’s doubles, tackling Choi Hye In and Lee So Hee in the first round.
Chris Adcock (Notts) and Robert Blair (Leics), the world No 25 pair, renew their men’s doubles partnership now that Blair is back to full fitness and they face a tricky start against China’s Chai Biao and Zhang Nan.
In the mixed doubles Adcock and White tackle Japan’s Naoki Kawamae and Shizuka Matsuo in the first round.
But England have a larger squad tackling the following week’s Proton Malaysian Open(January 19-24) where it’s Ouseph’s turn to be out of luck in the draw as he faces Chong Wei in the opening round.
Smith, the world No 29, is up against seventh seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia while a stronger entry, including China’s second seed Lin Dan, means Baxter is forced to qualify. He starts his bid against Chan Kwong Beng of Malaysia where he needs two wins to make the main draw.
In the men’s doubles last year’s Singapore Open winners and world No. 10 pair Nathan Robertson and Anthony Clark (both Notts) join Adcock and Blair in the draw.
Seventh seeds Clark and Robertson await a pair from the qualifying in the first round while Adcock and Blair face Malaysia’s Chan Chong Ming and Chew Choon Eng.
In the women’s doubles Wallwork and White also face qualifiers and a victory will then pit them against top seeds Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli of China.
The mixed doubles is the first chance to assess Clark’s new partnership with Heather Olver of Sussex following the retirement of his European title winning partner Donna Kellogg of Derbyshire.
They face a tough start against seventh seeds Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk, the Polish pair who beat Clark and Kellogg in the World Masters semi-finals last month in what was their last event together.
If they beat the Poles they will then face Robertson and Wallwork, ranked No 34 in the world - if the English pair overcome Wong Wai Hong and Chau Hoi Wah of Hong Kong.
Adcock and White, England’s highest-ranked competing pair at No. 21, face a tough start against sixth seeds Songphon Anugritayawan and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul of Thailand.
The Korean and Malaysian events are the last only Super Series events before the Yonex All England Championships and the 100th staging of the world’s oldest tournament from March 9-14.
To view the full draws for each tournament check out www.tournamentsoftware.com
For further information contact William Kings on 07787 51 53 53