All England: Tricky Opener for Defending Champs; Minions Withdraw

Men’s doubles defending champions Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana begin their campaign to retain their title at the YONEX All England with a challenging first round against Korean veterans Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang in the first match of the opening day.

The world No.12 duo announced their arrival on the world stage by unexpectedly capturing the All England last year, but haven’t reached another final since then. If they cross the first hurdle, Malaysians Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi or Olympic champions Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin await them.

Fikri and Maulana at the All England 2022

The only other defending champion to feature on the opening day will be Viktor Axelsen, who takes on Lee Cheuk Yiu.

Meanwhile, former world No.1 pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo withdrew from the YONEX All England 2023 and were replaced by Indian pair Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala.

The Minions were due to face Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty in the opening round but withdrew due to Sukamuljo’s ill-health. Rankireddy/Shetty, who have never beaten the Minions in 11 previous matches, will now face their compatriots Garaga/Panjala for a spot in the second round.

Another withdrawal in men’s doubles was that of Malaysians Man Wei Chong/Kai Wun Tee, who were replaced by France’s Ronan Labar/Lucas Corvee.

In women’s singles, former women’s singles runner-up Saina Nehwal withdrew, and was replaced by Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min.

Thai sisters Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard, winners of the PRINCESS SIRIVANNAVARI Thailand Masters 2023, withdrew, to be replaced by Brazil’s Jaqueline Lima/Samia Lima.

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