Ben Lane and Sean Vendy face a tough test against the reigning world champions as one of three English pairings in action on Day 2 at the YONEX All England Open.
Japanese third seeds Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi provide towering opposition for the Olympians, who picked up their first win at the event on opening day.
Hoki and Kobayashi were victorious when the two pairs last played at the 2021 French Open, though Lane and Vendy did beat the Japanese stars at the Denmark Open in 2019.
“I haven’t really looked past the first round. I don’t really do that, I just focus on the first game to begin with,” said Lane.
“We’ll have to enjoy the moment and enjoy the win, and then focus on that match.”
Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, seeded sixth in Birmingham, started their campaign with a 21-12, 21-19 victory against Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari.
They now face Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo in the second round, with a place in the quarter-final at stake.
“We need to make sure we have a good sleep, but have a bit of a watch of the video, get the tactics nailed down, and think about what we need to do to make sure we’re feeling really confident. We have to be quite flexible, but we’re used to that preparation,” said Smith.
Meanwhile, Chloe Birch and Jessica Pugh will hope to back up their opening round win over Christine Busch and Amalie Schulz – a first win together for the newly formed partnership.
Things don’t get any easier for Birch and Pugh after a fantastic opening round win, with Chinese pairing Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu waiting in the second round.
The test is a tough one, though Birch is relishing the opportunity to once again compete alongside Pugh against the world’s best.
“We’ve not had much gameplay. We’ve not played in tournaments for the last two months while we’ve been playing together so it’s just been training,” she said.
“It’s sometimes quite hard to know where you’re at and especially with the new partnership, we don’t have many women’s doubles pairs in England to play against so just getting the competition is great.
“We’ve got an opportunity tomorrow to see what we can do against a really good pair as well. We’re learning from every single game.”
The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships return to Utilita Arena Birmingham with the best players from around the world from 16th – 20th March 2022.
Don’t miss out, get your tickets today.