Chen Long takes on India's Kidambi Srikanth in the third round of the ongoing German Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in Mulheim on Thursday (Friday morning, Singapore time).
The reigning Olympic champion faces a tricky test but given his exploits over the first two rounds, Chen will have the edge over his Thursday's opponent. The second seed has not dropped a game yet, decimating his first round opponent Kenta Nishimoto 21-10, 21-9 in just 42 minutes before making light work of 21-year-old Sam Parsons 21-10, 21-6 in the following round.
The 2013 champion has not played any tournament since his runner-up finish at the 2016 China Open. Notably, the 28-year-old has started his season earlier than last year to get some wins under his belt before he heads to Birmingham for the All England Championships, starting 7 March, where he will be taking on the likes of world number one Lee Chong Wei and compatriot Lin Dan.
While he is expected to meet Lin in the final on Sunday if both of them make it to the title match, the clash against Srikanth, the 12th seed, has come at the right time for Chen, who would want to analyse his form against one of the top-ranked Indian shuttlers, before the big clashes over the next few weeks.
On the other hand, Srikanth had a disappointing start to the year as he lost the semi-final of his season-opening Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold tournament last month but has looked impressive so far in the ongoing tournament. The world number 30 demolished Japan's unseeded shuttler Yusuke Onodera 21-17, 21-18 yesterday to set up the clash with Chen. The Indian shuttler has to punch above his weight if he has to stand a chance against Chen, against whom he has failed to find success in three attempts.
India: Star Sports
Malaysia: Astro Supersport 3