Reigning Olympic champion Chen Long will take on Danish shuttler Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the quarter-final of ongoing German Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in Mulheim on Saturday.
The second seed edged past India's Kidambi Srikanth in his Round of 16 match 21-19, 22-20 on Thursday in 47 minutes, which is the longest he has played in the tournament. After Lin Dan's defeat to Emil Holst yesterday, the Chinese shuttler is the highest-ranked player in Mulheim and he looks set to clinch his second title here.
Chen had skipped the early-season tournaments, including Malaysia and Thailand Masters, after his runner-up finish at the 2016 China Open but has been looking sharp in Germany so far, decimating his opponents over the first three round in straight games.
The world number five was tested yesterday by Srikanth, who pushed Chen to the limits in both the games but the Chinese shuttler was able to hold his nerve and close out a tight contest, which would have helped him overcome rustiness, if there was any, after a long break.
Chen heads into the quarter-final against his familiar foe Vittinghus, who has lost 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two shuttlers. The world number 13 Danish shuttler though started the season early in India, where he bowed out of the quarter-final stages after losing to local shuttler Sameer Verma at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold.
If head-to-head records are anything to go by, then another quarter-final exit awaits Vittinghus. Also, Chen looks determined to get a title under his belt before he heads to Birmingham for the All England Championships, starting 7 March.
India: Star Sports
Singapore: Hub Sports 3
Malaysia: Astro Supersport