Lin Dan takes on Zulfadli Zulkiffli in the opening round of the 2017 All England Championships at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Wednesday (Thursday morning, Singapore time).
The six-time champion is heading into the tournament after being ousted from the German Open Grand Prix Gold in the third round last week. The world number six had decimated his first two rounds opponents in straight games but was outclassed by unseeded Danish shuttler Emil Holst in 10-21, 16-21 in just 46 minutes.
However, last week's tournament was the first tournament for the two-time Olympic champion in the new season and there were signs of rustiness with the Chinese shuttler, who had not played any tournament since his Rio Olympic campaign last year. However, the sixth seed's timing to make a comeback last week should be lauded as it would have given him some valuable match practise ahead of what is being touted as his last campaign in Birmingham.
The defending champion though has to make sure he gets past the initial hurdle against the 25-year-old Malaysian shuttler, who started his campaign as early as at the season's first Grand Prix Gold tournament - Malaysia Masters.
Zulfaddli, who is the second singles player after Lee Chong Wei in Birmingham this year, bowed out of Malaysia Masters in the second round but had reached the quarter-final of Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in India last month.
While he has not faced Lin before in his career, the world number 35 would want to take confidence from Holst's performance in Germany and try toppling the Chinese giant once again.
Malaysia: AStro Supersport
China: LETV, GDTV
Thailand: True visions
Indonesia: Fox Sports
India: Star Sports
Australia: Fox Sports
Dubai: Dubai SPorts Channel
Hong Kong: iCable, PCCW
US: One World Sport
Denmark: TV 2