MILTON Keynes-based Chris and Gabby Adcock will lead England’s top players straight into New Year action when they tackle the Victor Korea Open from tomorrow (Wednesday)
The Adcocks go into a big badminton year boosted by their rise to number five in the world on the back of their Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open Superseries triumph in November.
Now they head for Seoul for the opening event in the 2014-2017 BWF Superseries cycle under the circuit’s new title sponsors MetLife.
The Adcocks will be keen to maintain their world ranking to ensure a good seeding at the European Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, which all take place between April and August.
But first the focus is on the Korean tournament, followed a week later by the year’s first Premier Superseries event, the Maybank Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. When they return home the Adcocks will turn their attention to the English National Championships in Milton Keynes in early February when they aim to recapture the mixed doubles title they won in 2012.
The Adcocks start their Korean bid with a first-round test against Jun Bong Chan and Ko A Ra. An opening win will earn the third seeds a second-round clash with China’s Chai Biao and Tang Jinhua or Nipitphon Puangpuapech and Putitta Supajirakul of Thailand.
The Adcocks are drawn in the same half as team-mates and reigning English National champions Chris Langridge and Heather Olver as well as the world’s No.1 pair Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.
The two England pairs could meet in the quarter-finals but first world No.17s Langridge and Olver must overcome Koreans Kang Ji Wook and Choi Hye In for starters with the prospect of No.8 seeds Muhammad Rijal and Vita Marissa of Indonesia waiting in the second round.
The four English mixed doubles players are also in action in the level doubles.
Adcock and Andy Ellis, who are up to No. 13 in the world rankings, start their men’s doubles challenge against a pair from Tuesday’s qualifying rounds while Langridge and Peter Mills, who are ranked No.26, face Malaysians Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah.
In the women’s doubles, Olver and Kate Robertshaw tackle Suci Rizky Andini and Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah of Indonesia while Adcock and Lauren Smith face Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun and Chan Shin Seung in the first round.
Both England pairs are aiming to break into the world’s top 20 in the coming months with Olver and Robertshaw starting the year one place ahead of their team-mates at No.27.
England’s lone singles hope is six-time National champion and Commonwealth silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph.
The Middlesex star, ranked No. 19 in the world, meets a qualifier in his opening match with No. 8 seed Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam or Hong Kong’s Hu Yun the second-round obstacle in a draw where Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei is top seed and China’s Yonex All England champion Chen Long is at No.2. Ouseph can expect to meet Chen Long again if he reaches the quarter-finals.