YONEX All England: Day One Preview Sport-rated
March 13, 2023
The action at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships kicks off on Tuesday with two English pairs looking to kick off their campaigns in style
Lauren Smith will first step onto the court with Chloe Birch in the women’s doubles, before returning later in the day alongside Marcus Ellis in the mixed doubles.
Smith and Birch open their campaign against American pair Srivedya Gurazada and Ishika Jaiswal, a fairly new pair making their YONEX debut in Birmingham.
It will also be an All England return to English society, as Smith will not play the women’s doubles event last year and Birch will partner Jess Pugh.
Although both women are managing expectations as they continue to work and rebuild their partnership, which saw them claim Commonwealth silverware in Birmingham last summer, the duo are confident they can deliver when it matters.
“I like to challenge myself, it’s an extra chance to get out there. It’s another game to go and enjoy in front of the home crowd, it’s another game to go and win,” Smith said.
“I feel like Chloe, and I’m playing well now. There are some fundamentals of game control and momentum that we can improve on, but what we’re doing in the training room and how our mentality has been, we’re very capable of going out there and causing some upset.”
Birch added: “Now that we’re back on the court, and we’ve reconciled again, everything is going well. We’re just learning game by game again to figure out what we need to do for our association.”
The duo will appear second on Court 1, and Smith returns to that court to play alongside Ellis in the scheduled final match.
Twice All England semi-finalists, this year will be very sweet for both of them after battling injury issues at the end of 2022.
Smith struggled with a leg injury that sidelined her for a brief spell, while Ellis feared her career could be over due to a recurring hip problem.
However, the former Olympic bronze medalist has recovered after surgery and will return to the BWF World Tour on home soil alongside his off-court partner.
“Every year when I go out, it feels so special,” she said. “It is those moments that I will remember long after I retire.
“There were a couple of times where Lauren and I got relatively deep into the competition and, to be honest, to have a sell-out crowd in Birmingham, with almost everyone wanting you to win, is quite a special feeling. ”
Ellis and Smith face Japan’s Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya in their first round match at Utilita Arena.
2021 World Championship bronze medalists Yamashita and Shinoya are certainly not to be underestimated, although the English duo are hoping to win.
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