Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Home hopes out of luck in Yonex All England draw

THE luck of the draw deserted England's two big hopes for the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham from February March 3-8.

Just two days after helping Team England win the silver medal at the European Team Championship at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England's European champions and fourth seeds Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg, the 2007 runners-up, were drawn against their team-mates, 2005 champion Nathan Robertson and new partner Jenny Wallwork, in the first round of the mixed doubles.

And the winners could face another England pair in teenage stars Chris Adcock and Gabby White in the second round.

On top of that Anglo-Scottish pair Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier, who are the seventh seeds, must take on England's world No 16 pair David Lindley and Suzanne Rayappan in the first round.

But it wasn't only England who were out of luck. Three-times champion Lin Dan is on course to meet his team-mate Bao Chunlai in the second round of the men's singles if the world and Olympic champion overcomes a qualifier and Bao beats Dutchman Eric Pang in the opening round of the men's singles. China's third seed Chen Jin, who beat Lin Dan in last year's final, starts his title defence against Japan's Kenichi Tago.

Andrew Smith, the hero of England's valiant bid to beat Denmark on Sunday with his win over world No. 6 Joachim Persson, is the only home player in the main draw of the men's singles and he faces India's Chetan Anand in the first round.

Two-time English National champion Rajiv Ouseph and runner-up Carl Baxter both have to qualify. Ouseph faces Ireland's Scott Evans while Baxter meets India's Anand Pawar, who beat him in the Bank of Scotland quarter-finals in Novermber before Ouseph defeated the Indian player in the final.

In the women's singles Jersey's Elizabeth Cann is the only English player in the main draw and she faces a tough opener against seventh seed Wang Lin of China. Scotland's Commonwealth bronze medallist Susan Hughes will face a qualifier. English National champion Jill Pittard meets Finland's third qualifying seed Anu Nieminen in the first round of qualifying.

In the men's doubles Clark and Robertson are seeded eighth and face a tricky opener against Korea's Han Sang Hoon and Hwang Ji Man. England have three other pairs in the main draw with Chris Adcock and Robert Blair in the same quarter as Clark and Robertson. Adock and Blair face Simon Mollyhus and Anders Kristiansen of Denmark in their opening match.

Lindley and Chris Langridge will fancy their chances against Dutch pair Jorrit De Ruiter and Jurgen Wouters but Andrew Eidestedt and Andrew Ellis face a tough time against Malaysian third seeds Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, the 2007 champions.

In the women's doubles Wallwork and Gabby White face Malaysians Goh Liu Ying and Ng Hui Lin while England also have a second pair through to the main draw in Heather Olver and Samantha Ward, who take on Japan's Fujii Mizuki and Reika Kakiiwa.

The entry for the 99th Yonex All England Open championship is one of the strongest on record and tournament director Darren Parks is urging fans to book early. "We have a terrific entry," he said. "It is like a Who's Who of current world stars."

Tickets are available from www.theticketfactory.com or call 0844 444 9994. Don't forget tickets are available for the qualifying rounds on Tuesday March 3 as well as the main draw.

Yonex All England Seeds

Men's singles: Women's singles:
1 Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 1 Tine Rasmussen (Den)
2 Lin Dan (Chn) 2 Zhou Mi (Hkg)
3 Chen Jin (Chn) 3 Lu Lan (Chn)
4 Peter Gade (Den) 4 Pi Hongyan (Fra)
5 Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) 5 Xie Xingfang (Chn)
6 Joachim Persson (Den) 6 Zhu Lin (Chn)
7 Taufik Hidayat ((Ina) 7 Wang Lin (Chn)
8 Przemyslaw Wacha (Pol) 8 Xu Huaiwen (Ger)

Men's doubles:
1 Markis Kido & Hendra Setiawan (Ina)
2 Lars Paaske & Jonas Rasmussen (Den)
3 Koo Kien Keat & Tan Boon Heong (Mas)
4 Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif & Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari (Mas)
5 Mathias Boe & Carsten Mogensen (Den)
6 Lee Yong Dae & Shin Baek Choel
7 Cai Yun & Fu Haifeng (Chn)
8 Anthony Clark & Nathan Robertson (Eng)

Women's doubles:
1 Cheng Wen Hsing & Chien Yu Chin (Tpe)
2 Chin Eei Hui & Wong Pei Tty (Mas)
3 Lee Hyo Jung & Lee Kyung Won (Kor)
4 Du Jing & Yu Yang (Chn)
5 Ha Jung Eun & Kim Min Jung (Kor)
6 Lena Frier Kristiansen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den)
7 Zhang Yawen & Zhao Tingting (Chn)
8 Shendy Puspa Irawati & Greysia Polii (Ina)

Mixed doubles:
1 Nova Widianto & Liliyana Natsir (Ina)
2 Lee Yong Dae & Lee Hyo Jung (Kor)
3 He Hanbin & Yu Yang (Chn)
4 Anthony Clark & Donna Kellogg (Eng)
5 Thomas Laybourn & Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den)
6 Joachim Fischer Nielsen & Christinna Pedersen (Den)
7 Robert Blair (Eng) & Imogen Bankier (Sco)
8 Sudket Prapakamol & Saralee Thoungthongkam (Tha)

Tuesday, March 3: Qualifying rounds 11am-10pm approx (5 courts)
Wednesday, March 4: First rounds from 10am-10pm approx (5 courts)
Thursday, March 5: Second rounds from10am-10pm approx (3 courts, interval 4pm-5pm)
Friday, March 6: Quarter-finals from 5pm-10.30pm approx (3 courts)
Saturday, March 7: Semi-finals from 12.30pm-5pm approx (2 courts)
Sunday, March 8: Finals from 12.30pm-5pm approx (1 court)