Reigning Olympic champion Chen Long takes on German shuttler Marc Zwiebler in the opening round of 2017 All England Championships at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Wednesday.
The two-time champion is heading into the tournament days after suffering a semi-final exit at the German Open Grand Prix Gold, which was also his first appearance of the new season. Chen would be hoping to go the distance and clinch his third title in Birmingham, which is hosting some of the top shuttlers this year.
However, Chen faces a stiff opening test against the world number 11, who has been performing consistently at the highest level in the recent past, making it to the Dubai World Superseries Finals last year.
While chen had not featured in any tournaments after his China Open stint last year before his German Open appearance last week, Zwiebler was part of the German team at the European Mixed Team Championships last month, winning both the rubbers he played. However, a second-round exit in Germany must have dented his confidence ahead of the All England.
The 32-year-old is in for a tough opening test against Chen but he has beaten the Chinese shuttler thrice in the past and should be hoping to do it one more time on Wednesday. Stunning one of the top seeds as early as the first day in Birmingham is the best way to begin a campaign but it is easier said than done.
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