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Early season test for England players at Yonex Dutch Open
ENGLAND’S players face a tough early season examination on Thursday when they head to Almere for the Yonex Dutch Open.
In the men’ singles the luck of the draw deserted Michael Spencer Smith as he faces Polish top seed Przemyslaw Wacha in the first round with Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees likely to meet the winner in the second round. Josh Green fared better as he starts against Dutchman Bart Gerrits.
Former English National champion Nicola Cerfontyne was just as unlucky as Spencer-Smith as the women’s singles draw left her facing Dutch top seed and former European champion Yao Jie in the first round.
Five-times English National champion Elizabeth Cann must take on second seed Linda Zechiri of Bulgaria in the first round.
Polish Open runner-up Panuga Riou must wait to learn her first-round opponent after seventh seed Sashina Vignes Waran of France withdrew along with Sarah Walker but Kate Robertshaw meets experienced Dutch player Judith Meulendijks.
The withdrawals mean Sarah Milne and Emily Westwood are being promoted from qualifying into the main draw.
In the men’s doubles Czech champions Chris Langridge [pictured] and Peter Mills start against Dutch pair Russell Muns and Robin Tabeling while Gary Fox and Ben Stawski meet Mikkel Elbjorn and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark.
Marcus Ellis, who had to retire hurt in the mixed doubles final at the Czech International, should be fit to tackle the men’s doubles with Scotland's Paul Van Rietvelde and they also start with a Dutch pair, Vincent De Vries and Justin Teeuwen.
England have a fourth pair in contention with Chris Coles and Matthew Nottingham, who reached the semi-finals in Bulgaria at the weekend, taking on Joel Johansson-Berg and Nico Ruponen of Sweden.
Czech winners Heather Olver and Robertshaw meet Lisa Malaihollo and Yvonne Sie while Lauren Smith and Gabby White start their challenge against Gayloe Mahulette ad Ilse Vaessen of the Netherlands with second seeds Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia awaiting the winners.
Alyssa Lim and Jessica Fletcher open with a bye and await the winners of the match between Sophie Brown and Helena Lewczynska and German pair Linda Efier and Ramona Hacks.
But there is disappointment again for Jenny Wallwork, who following minor surgery, has had to withdraw from both the women's and mixed doubles.
But England will still be mounting a strong mixed doubles challenge, led by Czech winners Langridge and Olver and sixth seeds Ellis and White.
Langridge and Olver start against fourth seeds Ronan Labar and Laura Choinet of France while Ellis and White meet Mattijs Dierickx and Debbie Janssens of Belgium
But Nottingham and Alex Langley face a tricky test against Christian John Skovgaard and Line Damkjaer Kruse of Denmark.
Coles and Fletcher will look to also upset the seeding, being drawn against Swiss top seeds Anthony Dumartheray and Jaquet in the first round.
Mills and Lim are second qualifying seeds and they start with a bye but can expect to face Dutch pair Ruud Bosch and Eefje Muskens for a place in the main draw.
Meanwhile at the Irish Futures event in Dublin, Jamie Bonsels is sixth seed in the men’s singles and begins his bid against Vincent Espen of France.
Fontaine Chapman is fourth seed in the women’s singles and starts with a bye followed by a second-round clash against Finland’s Sonja Pekkola.