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Briggs and Wolfenden prepare for Canada Open title defence

Briggs and Wolfenden prepare for Canada Open title defence

England’s Tom Wolfenden and Peter Briggs return to Calgary for the first defence of their 2017 Canada Open Men’s Doubles crown this week – and their champion credentials will be first tested by an unseeded Vietnamese pair.

The imposing men’s pairing became the first English winners at the event since Toby Honey’s singles win in 2006 when they won their career first Grand Prix final last July.

Now a Super 100 event on the BWF World Tour, they go into this competition seeded seventh as they look to retain the title – England’s first for 14 years in Men’s Doubles.

They will contend the Men’s Doubles draw as one of three English pairs alongside Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis and Ben Lane and Sean Vendy.

Like last week in California, Marcus Ellis is top-ranked in both the Men’s Doubles (with Langridge) and Mixed Doubles (with Lauren Smith) and will be hoping for an improved showing after back to back Quarter Final exits at the US Open. 

In reaching the semi-finals, Ben Lane and Jess Pugh were the most successful of the English athletes in Los Angeles last week but were ultimately disappointed to be dispatched by the German fourth seeds Seidel and Efler.

Lane, with Vendy, faces seeded German opposition again in form of Jansen and Zurwonne in Round One of the Men’s Doubles event whilst he and Pugh await a qualifier to open their Mixed challenge.

Greg Mairs and Jenny Moore will hope to replicate last week’s impressive win against Jacco Arends and Selena Piek having been drawn to face the experienced Dutch duo again.

It is the plum tie of the Mixed Doubles draw, which also sees the top billing of Ellis and Smith tackle Frances’ Jordan Corvee and Anne Tran in Round One.

In a intriguing nuance of the draw, Chloe Birch faces Canadian favourite Rachel Honderich twice in the opening rounds of her home tournament.  Like Honderich, Birch plays singles and doubles here, partnering Jenny Moore.

The English threat in Women’s Doubles also comes from the new pairing of Lauren Smith and Jess Pugh who, after falling to South Korean rivals in LA, face a European challenge of Amanda Hogstrom and Clara Nistad. The Swedish pair are well known to English fans after their time in the National Badminton League.

Toby Penty enjoys a first round bye.

Canada is a second tournament in two weeks before the HSBC BWF World Tour returns with an Asian leg in what is a busy period for the English squad.