For the first time ever, home players are the top seeds for both men and women’s singles at the Carlton Irish Open, starting in Baldoyle Badminton Centre, Dublin on December 6.
Scott Evans, top seed for the men’s singles, will play Maxime Michele of France in his opening match and then either Flemming Quach of Denmark, or a qualifier who could turn out to be Ireland’s Tony Stephenson.
Should Evans progress, he could face Marcel Router of Germany in the quarter finals and Toby Plenty of England in the semi-finals. Also in the top end of the draw is the dangerous Malaysian player Kuan Beng Hong, whom Evans will play in the opening round of the Welsh Open on Friday.
Lukas Schmidt of Germany, the No 2 seed, could possibly face Irish player Josh Magee in his opening match, should Magee emerge from the qualifying tournament.
Chloe Magee , the top women’s seed, could play qualifiers in both her first two matches before facing Dutch player Patty Stolzenbach in the quarter-finals and Maja Tvrdy of Slovenia in the semis. Seeded at No2 is Lianne Tan from Belgium, with Ireland’s Sinead Chambers also in the bottom half of the draw.
Dutch players are expected to dominate the men’s doubles with Jorrit de Ruiter and Dave Khodabux seeded at No 1 and Jacco Arends and Jelle Maas at No 2. De Ruiter and Khodabus are scheduled to play new-look Irish pair Jonathan Dolan and Sam Magee in their round 2 match, although the Irish pair will first have to dispose of Daniel Grassmueck and Roman Zimwald of Austria.
In the bottom half of the draw, Arends and Maas could face a double Irish challenge – Scott Burnside and Conor Hickland in their opening match, followed by Tony Murphy and Tony Stephenson in round 2.
A Dutch-French final is expected in the women’s doubles with Samantha Barning and Eefje Muskens of the Netherlands the top seeds and French pair Audrey Fontaine and Emilie Lefel at No 2.
Irish pair Sinead Chambers and Jennie King are in the top half of the draw and could face Barning and Muskens in the quarter finals. They have a bye in the first round and then play Anna Rankin and Madeleine Stapleton of New Zealand in round 2.
For the mixed doubles, Chloe and Sam Magge are seeded at No 2 behind the strong Dutch pairing of Jorrit de Ruiter and Samantha Barning.
The Magees play Floris Oleffe and Steffi Annys of Belgium in their opening match and then possibly their brother Josh and cousin Rachael Darragh in round 2. Danger pair in the bottom half of the draw are Dutch players Jacco Arends and Ilse Vaessen.
With eight players progressing from the qualifying tournament, draw, Tony Stephenson, seeded No 1, has a good chance of making the main draw at the Carlton Irish Badminton Open in Baldoyle from December 6.
Other Irish players among the eight groups of eight include Nigel Boyne, Scott Burnside, Io Wai Lau, Tony Murphy, Stuart Lightbody, Josh Magee, Jonathan Dolan, David Walsh and Liam O’Leary, Dolan, currently No 10 junior in the world, has a tough draw and is likely to face France’s Lucas Corvee before the deciding match in his group. Magee has a more comfortable draw and should he survive his first two matches, could face face Germany’s Richard Domke for a place in the main tournament.
O’Leary is in a group that includes No 8 seed Daniel Massersi from Italy. Included in Scott Burnside’s group are Daniel Font from Wales and fellow Irish player Io Wai Lau.
Australian player Tara Pilven is the top seed for the women’s qualifying tournament. Jennie King, Aisling Ryan, Rachael Darragh, Catherine Coyle, and Alannah Stephenson are the Irish players hoping to take one of eight places in the main tournament.