World’s best ahead for Adcock

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Ravenshead’s Chris Adcock is on course to face the world’s best in the form of Olympic mixed doubles champions and the world men’s doubles champions after the draw for next month’s Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham was announced this week.

Adcock and his wife Gabby, who won their first BWF Superseries title in Hong Kong in November, begin their mixed doubles challenge against Indonesia’s Irfan Fadilah and Weni Anggraini.

But the fifth seeds are on course to meet old rivals Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China in the quarter-finals of this second Premier event of the year on the MetLife BWF World Superseries circuit.

England’s other top mixed doubles pair, Chris Langridge and Heather Olver, will face Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa and Misaki Matsutomo in the first round on 5th March at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA).

Chris Adcock has an equally tough draw in the men’s doubles where he and Andy Ellis are eighth seeds.

They start against Taipei’s Liang Jui Wei and Liao Kuan Hao before a likely second-round test against former Olympic, world and All England champion Cai Yun and new partner Kai Lu.

But the real test will come in the quarter-finals if the early matches go according to seeding, with the world champions and top seeds Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan likely to come through to meet them in the last eight – although England’s number two pair Langridge and Peter Mills are likely to face the Indonesians in the second round.

Langridge and Mills start with a qualifying pair while the Indonesians meet Russia’s top pair Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov.

England’s top men’s singles player Rajiv Ouseph is also in for a tough time.

The seven-times English National champion and Commonwealth runner-up, who led England to a silver medal at the European Team Championships in Basel on Sunday, must take on China’s seventh seed Du Pengyu in the first round.

However, he can take confidence from the fact that he won their only meeting in straight games in Hong Kong in November.

Both men are in the same quarter of the draw as top seed and two-time winner Lee Chong Wei. The Malaysian, who will defend his Commonwealth title at Glasgow 2014, is bidding for a sixth consecutive final appearance.

China’s defending champion and second seed Chen Long has a fascinating start when he takes on 20-year-old Dane Viktor Axelsen in his opening contest.

In the women’s singles Kirsty Gilmour must face India’s Commonwealth champion and seventh seed Saina Nehwal in the first round.

China are favourites for the title with 2012 finalist Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan the top two seeds. Li starts against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan while Wang takes on Spain’s London Grand Prix and Scottish Open Grand Prix winner Carolina Marin.

Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, the new world champion and last year’s runner-up to Denmark’s Tine Baun, faces Singapore’s Juan Gu in her opening match.

In the women’s doubles, Gabby Adcock and Lauren Smith begin their challenge against the in-form Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek, who have won five tournaments since November, while Heather Olver and Kate Robertshaw meet Malaysia’s Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon.

The All Action All England Championships start with qualifying rounds on Tuesday 4 March when two-time English National champion Sarah Walker requires two wins to reach the main draw. Her first match is against Russian Ksenia Polikarpova.

In men’s doubles qualifying Chris Coles and Matthew Nottingham take on top qualifying seeds Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira and Ade Yusuf of Indonesia.

Peter Briggs and Harley Towler meet Dutchman Mattijs Dierickx and Freek Golinski and if the two England pairs win their openers, they will meet to decide which of them goes into the main draw.

In the women’s doubles qualifying Sophie Brown and Alyssa Lim take on Russia’s Olympic bronze medallist Nina Vislova and her new partner Anastasia Chervaykova.

Coles and Lim team up in the mixed doubles but face a tough start against Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl.

Nottingham and Smith face top qualifying seeds Kona Tarun and Ashwini Ponnappa.

The 2014 All England Championships marks the 31st consecutive year of title sponsorship by Yonex, the world’s number one badminton brand.

It is also the 21st All England to be played at the National Indoor Arena, running from 4th-9th March.

Visit the Yonex All England tickets page at www.allenglandbadminton.com for more information and to purchase tickets.