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(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Preview: Men’s Doubles
Date: 1/7/2021 1:11 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
After the welcome BWF announcement that all 824 participants in the Green Zone quarantine bubble have tested negative, we are ready to go! Here is what we can look forward to in the Men’s Doubles. 

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, will be home for the world’s top players to play a three-tournament Asian Leg of the BWF World Tour this month. There will be various necessary measures to ensure the safest possible environment for the staff and players. 

A video outlining the protocols BWF and local organisers have put in place can be watched here.

Number one seeds not present
The big news in the men’s doubles is that world number one pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo were forced to pull out after Sukamuljo tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested on 20 December 2020 after showing symptoms of COVID-19. He reportedly had lost his sense of smell and taste and had mild flu. 

-Thank you for your prayers and support, I hope I can recover quickly and be able to train again as before. This is also a lesson for me to always be vigilant in future, Sukamuljo told BWF.

Their first round opponents were due to be French pair Eloi Adam/ Julien Maio. Although perhaps a little relieved that they no longer have to face the tournament favourites, they now face the new Danish combination of Niclas Nohr/ Mathias Christiansen. 

Two chances for England
Two pairs from England make the journey to Thailand. Denmark Open champions, Marcus Ellis/ Chris Langridge hope to bring the same form next week, especially when having to face home favourites, Bodin Issara/ Maneepong Jongjit. Both experienced pairs, there only encounter was at the 2018 French Open. The Thai pair won in two comfortable games that time.
 
Ben Lane/ Sean Vendy have become accustomed to playing in England’s number one slot at team events of late. Winning three out of their three matches at the European Mixed Team Championships Qualification Group 1 in Milton Keynes in December, the pair are looking forward to stepping up. After qualification was secured, they stated that they would have only three/ four days break to see families over Christmas, as the big focus is on these tournaments in Thailand. 

The pair are in good form, pushing the European Games bronze medallists, Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov, to three games in the semifinal of the Denmark Open. In the first round, they get to have another go at the pair they know well from the Premier Badminton League in India.  

New year, new start for Astrup/ Rasmussen
The end of 2020 for Kim Astrup/ Anders Rasmussen certainly did not go according to plan. Favourites to pick up the Denmark Open, they bowed out in the second round to compatriots Eipe/ Kjær. Kim said that this was possibly the worst match they have ever played. 

In 2021, the European Games silver medallists have a great opportunity to bounce back. Their opening round match will be against seventh seeds Lee Wang/ Wang Chi-Lin, a pair they managed to defeat at the Barcelona Spain Masters in February last year. 

Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss, who had a strong end of 2020 in the mixed doubles, with a title win and runners-up finish at the Denmark Open and SaarLorLux Open respectively, will hope to recapture this energy in the men’s doubles with Marvin Seidel. 

Reserves get ready
With the withdrawal of the Japan team following a positive test result from Kento Momota, four men’s doubles pairs, including the number three and four seeds, will be removed from the draw. 

Daniel Hess/ Jones Ralfy Jansen come into the draw and face Australia's Oliver Leyden-Davis/ Abhinav Manota, to fight for the right to go up against the winner from Ellis/ Langridge vs Issara/ Jongjit. 

For the full draw and fixtures, click here

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