Lin Dan
Lin Dan takes on unseeded Indian shuttler in the opening round Reuters

Lin Dan takes on 17-year-old Indian shuttler Siril Verma in the opening round of Yonex German Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in Muelheim on Tuesday. (Wednesday morning, Singapore time).

The world number six is returning to court after nearly a year-long break. Lin Dan last played the bronze medal match of the Rio Olympics, which he lost against Denmark's Viktor Axelsen. While his rivals Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long took to the court last year itself, the two-time Olympic gold medal-winning Chinese shuttler delayed his return.

However, Super Dan has chosen Germany keeping in mind the match practice and the exposure he will need at the highest level before he heads into what might be his last All England Championships, starting 7 March in Birmingham.

A good run in Muelheim will definitely boost his confidence and he will be up against some of the top-class shuttlers including world number two Jan O Jorgensen, compatriot Chen and Tian Houwei among others, if he manages to pass the opening test.

Siril, the world number 106, is in for an uphill task in his opening encounter, given his exposure at the senior level. The Indian teenager crashed out of Malaysia Masters last month in the opening round, losing to higher-ranked Thailand's Pannawit Thongnuam and lost in the second round at the Austrian Open last week.

The only factor that can go in Siril's favour is Lin Dan's rustiness after a long layoff but the Chinese shuttler is experienced enough to get switched on from the word go.

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