The biggest and best field since the World Championships have converged in Odense for the 4th Premier event of the year, with all eyes focussing on the local hopes such as Peter Gade, Tine Baun and the new star of Danish badminton, Viktor Axelsen.
Lee Chong Wei is still recovering from his heartbreaking loss against Lin Dan in London and suffered another blow when he lost to Chen Long in Japan last month in another tight three game match. The Malaysia is still the top seed this week and starts his campaign against India’s Kashyap Parupalli. The Chinese attendance this week is vast, with four seeds in the men’s singles headlined by the world champion Lin Dan who will be no walkover this week after a pair of questionable withdrawals to other Chinese players in Japan and in his local Super Series event last month. A qualifier awaits Lin Dan in the first round whilst the other Chinese seeds all start with tough openers with 3rd seeded Chen Long taking on Shon Wan Ho in the first round.
There is more Chinese interest in the draw and it merges with the local interest as Wang Zhengming takes on the local favourite Peter Gade in the opening round. It will undoubtably be the headline match of the opening day of action with Gade looking to do well in what could be his last Danish Open. Two other Danes in the draw also have tough asks to reach the second round with Hans-Kristian Vittinghus taking on Taufik Hidayat, who is under immense pressure this week to perform and next week in France as he defends most of the ranking points that ensures his top 10 ranking in the next two weeks. Viktor Axelsen takes on Przemyslaw Wacha in his first round, with Axelsen holding a 2-0 head to head against the Pole.
China have five of the eight seeds this week, with Tine Baun barely making the seedings at 8 to the relief of the local support. Saina Nehwal and Juliane Schenk are the remaining two seeds hoping to break the hold in this event from the Chinese. World champion Wang Yihan has regained the world number 1 spot but faces the world number 10 Bae Joun Yoo in the opening round this week in one of the biggest matches of the opening round in the event.
The two European hopes have been a pair of qualifiers with the 6th seeded Juliane Schenk taking on Chen Jiayuan of Singapore while the 8th seeded Tine Baun takes on Lariga Griga of Ukraine, with Baun winning their previous meeting in the 2009 All Englands. Should Baun win her opening match, her second round match will be tough as she will face the winner of Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand and Carolina Marin of Spain.
Boe and Mogensen will hope that a return home will change their form after a below par summer has seen them plummet to the 3rd seeds this week. Cai and Fu will be the pair to best as always in the big events, who take on Kawamae and Sato in the opening round who defeated Boe and Mogensen in their most recent event in Japan last month. Speculation of the Korean pairs going into an Olympic year has hinted that Ko and Lee would partner up with the intent of going for a medal in 2012. They partnered up together in Japan last month and reached the last 8 but they have resumed their previous partnerships in Denmark this week.
2nd seeded Lee and Jung start against the Japanese pairing of Hirobe and Kazuno whilst the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo take on the English pairing of Adcock and Ellis, with a potential match between the two Korean pairs waiting in the semi final. Boe and Mogensen have been given perhaps one of the easier routes into the second round with a match against the Thai qualifiers of Anugritayawon and Prapakamol, both proven mixed doubles players.
The Chinese juggernaut of Wang and Yu return to Europe for the first time since their victory in London in August, they are the undoubted favourites this week and for the Olympics in ten months time already. They start this week against the Hong Kong pairing of Tse and Poon who reached the Japan Open semi final last month. Their biggest threat as always will be from team-mates Zhao and Tian, seeded 2 this week. Their opening round match this week comes against Hsieh and Wang of Chinese Taipei before a potential tough second round match against Marissa/Melati or Michels/Marinello.
Zhang and Zhao complete a clean sweep of Chinese top seeds this week, with Danish interest laying with the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen but the threat of 5th seeded Ma and Xu will be a serious one also. Zhang and Zhao start against Triyachart and Yao of Singapore whilst the other Chinese seeds of Ma and Xu take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Lee and Chien.
Danish hopes lie with the 3rd seeds, who take on Matsuo and Sato of Japan with Shoji Sato one half of the Japanese pair that defeated Boe and Mogensen in Japan last month, so Danish fans will be wary of a repeat performance. The 2009 world champions Rytter Juhl and Laybourn are also in the draw, but face a tough opener against the 4th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam. The world championship silver medalists are in action in an all-British first round clash, with Adcock and Bankier taking on White and Blair for a place in the second round.