Let's take a look at who the top seeds will be up against in round one, and what other matchups fans should look forward to.
Viktor Axelsen VS Cheukyiu Lee
The current No.1 will be looking to add a second All England title to his mantle after winning back in 2021. Victory this time around could certainly help him get over the defeat he suffered in the final of the India Open at the hands of Vitidsarn at the beginning of this year.
Cheukyiu Lee is the definite underdog in this matchup, but has already proven he has the game to beat Axelsen, having secured victory against him in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open in 2019. He currently sits at No. 21 in the rankings, but a first round win against the Great Dane could see him on the rise and even set up an unlikely journey to the title.
Kento Momota VS Kunlavut Vitidsarn
Momota has legendary status in the world of badminton, holding the record for the most singles titles in a season with 11 tournament wins in 2019. The 28 year-old from Japan was once the world No. 1, but he has since fallen a long way down the rankings and now sits at No. 23. However, he reached the semi-finals of the German Open, which could be the confidence injection needed to go on and beat Vitidsarn in the first round of YAE2023.
Vitidsarn, on the other hand, will be looking to re-establish his winning form. Despite taking home gold in India at the start of the year, he couldn’t make it out of the first round of the German Open against an impressive Shifeng Li, who made it all the way to the final. The young prospect from Thailand will be looking to stop that first round curse dead in its tracks, and will certainly have eyes on the latter stages of the tournament.
Akane Yamaguchi VS Mia Blitchfeldt
Yamaguchi is the reigning Yonex All England women’s singles champion and currently leads the pack in terms of world ranking. The Japanese 25 year-old has already claimed two open titles this year, winning in Malaysia, and seeing off An Se Young in Germany. She will be looking to set herself up for back to back tournament victories with a first round win against Mia Blitchfeldt, a Danish player who came tantalisingly close to the top 10 back in 2019, but has since slipped back down the rankings.
For Blitchfeldt, it will take a career defining performance to beat the in-form women’s singles No.1. She has played against some tough opponents in the past, so this could be her opportunity to establish herself as a prospect.
An Se Young VS Wen-chi Tsu
There is not much keeping An Se Young from the top spot in the rankings. Despite a narrow defeat to Yamaguchi in the German Open final, she has proven on multiple occasions that she has the game to beat the world No.1. She will see this year's All England Championship as a possible launch pad to that top spot, but first she will have to overcome the challenge of Wen-chi Hsu in the first round.
For Lee, it is about continuing her journey through the rankings and rivalling the best in the business. She currently sits at No.16, but victory against the No. 2 seed could propel her into the top 10, and maybe even be the beginning of her route to a first international championship for the Chinese Taipei representative.
Ardianto & Alfian (Indonesia) VS Kang & Seo (South Korea)
It will be a tall order for the South Korean pair to beat the current world No.1s, but not impossible. The last time they met was in the semi-final of the Malaysia Open at the beginning of the year, and although the Indonesians won that match and went on to take home gold, it was a very close affair in the penultimate round. If the South Koreans can win, it could give them the energy to push for the semi-finals or even final of this tournament.
Lane & Vendy (England) VS Liu & Ou (China)
With the home crowd behind them, Ben Lane and Sean Vendy will hope they can surmount the tough first round challenge of Yuchen Liu and Xuanyi Ou, who are currently ranked No. 5. The Chinese pairing have defeated Lane and Vendy at both the Malaysia and India Opens, but both times they have been closely contested encounters, so the English team will be looking to finally put their losing streak against them to bed.
Chen & Jia (China) VS Iwanaga & Nakanishi (Japan)
The women’s doubles No. 1 pairing will be looking to nullify the first round challenge of a strong Team Japan outfit. Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan have been a dominant force in the last two seasons, having taken home the World Tour title in December and cemented their form with a Malaysia Open win and German Open 2nd place this year. It’s hard to see the premier duo losing this one, although there is an outside chance for their opponents, who have not made it past the quarter-finals in a major tournament since Asia Championships in 2022, where they made it to the final, but lost to the very same opponents they will face today.
Stoeva & Stoeva (Bulgaria) VS Lee & Teng (Chinese Taipei)
Bulgarian sisters, Stefani and Gabriela Stoeva, have consistently reached the quarter-finals in the last three tournaments they have played in. They are currently ranked No. 14, but will be eyeing up the top 10 having held the No.8 position back in 2018. They will be looking to progress further at this year’s Yonex All England Championship, having not made it out of the first round at last year’s event. Their opponents from Chinese Taipei are a long way down the rankings, but this could be their opportunity to make steps back up the ladder.
Zheng & Huan (China) VS Thyrri & Magelund (Denmark)
The Danish pair are yet to go further than round of 16 at a major tournament and the mixed No.1s are in formidable form. It is hard to see an underdog win on the cards with this one, but rubbing shoulders with Viktor Axelsen on Team Denmark could certainly be an advantage for the pair who have only played THE last two seasons together. For the Chinese pair, they will be looking to begin this year’s YAE with a dominant display with hopes to go on and win their third Yonex All England title.
Gicquel & Delrue (France) VS Ko & Eom (South Korea)
No.5 seeds in the world of mixed doubles, Thom Gicquel and Daphne Delrue will be looking for a statement performance at YAE2023. Their form over the past two seasons has been strong, with regular victories against some of the big pairings in the discipline. But actual titles have been elusive and many of their strongest performances have still seen the beat in finals. They will hope to kickstart this tournament with a solid performance against the pair from South Korea, and lay the foundations for their first title win since 2021.