Sports / Stars

Lin Dan returns to All England after 3-year absence as favorite

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-03-04 08:58

In the meantime, world champion Chen has risen to No. 1 in Chong Wei's absence, and won the World Superseries Finals in December. But his record against countryman Lin is six losses, no wins.

Top-seeded Chen will play a qualifier on Wednesday, while Lin, seeded fifth, opens against Hong Kong's Wei Nan.

Lin will try to join a select company of three others who have won at last six All England titles: Frank Devlin of Ireland, six in the 1920s-30s, Erland Kops of Denmark, seven in the 1950s-60s, and Rudy Hartono of Indonesia, eight in the 1960s-70s, when the All England was regarded as the unofficial world championships.

"I have played here 12 times and won five titles," the sixth-ranked Lin said. "The history is very special every time I see the top players coming here.

"I wish to get as many points as possible to help my world ranking and fight for my sixth title."

In the women's draw, top-ranked Li Xuerui will be favored to regain the title she won for the first time in 2012.

But for all her success, Li has been vulnerable on the biggest stages. She has lost in the last two world championships finals, and lost other finals last year to Chinese compatriots Wang Shixian (including All England) and Wang Yihan.

European hopes will rest on world champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who will aim to become the first player not from Asia or Scandinavia to liff the women's title since Gillian Gilks of England in 1978. Marin is seeded sixth.

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