Racquets: Evans eager to lead Irish effort
SCOTT EVANS is keeping his fingers crossed that an ankle injury won't sideline him from next week's Yonex Irish International event at Baldoyle Badminton Centre.
The Irish No 1 decided to miss out on the corresponding Norway International in Oslo two weeks ago, in the hope that his ankle problem would heal sufficiently to allow him take part in the flagship event of the Irish badminton year.
"With another week to go, hopefully I will be okay for the Irish International," said Evans, who hasn't played since suffering a second-round loss in the French Open on November 3.
"Every player desperately wants to play in his own country's most important tournament -- and I'm no different in that regard."
The 23-year-old Dubliner, who has been involved full-time in badminton since moving to Copenhagen in January 2005, is the No 2 seed in the men's singles in the Irish International, which runs from Thursday, December 9 to the following Sunday.
So the world No 39 will spearhead the home challenge in the $15,000 event in which his fellow Beijing Olympian, Donegal's Chloe Magee, is the No 7 seed in the women's singles.
Twelve months ago, Evans was the No 7 seed in the Baldoyle tournament but bowed out in the second round against qualifier Rune Ulsing 21-10 21-18. He will be hoping for a much lengthier run on this occasion and with only one player ahead of him in the seedings, the omens seem favourable for the Dundrum man.
The top seed in the 86-strong field is Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and the world No 38 will be buoyed by the fact that he captured the singles title in the Norwegian Open.
In the women's singles entry of 58 players, Dublin-based Magee will have to contend with the likes of the top seed, England's world No 34 Elizabeth Cann, and the No 2 seed, Scotland's world No 40 Susan Egelstaff.
In the men's doubles, Germany's Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schottler, No 20 in the doubles world rankings, are the No 1 seeds, with Ireland's top doubles pairing of Tony Stephenson and Sam Magee, No 61 in the world rankings, carrying home hopes.
In the women's doubles, the No 21 world-ranked pairing of Canada's Charmaine Reid and Germany's Nicole Grether are the No 1 seeds.
The mixed competition has the No 16 world-ranked duo of Canada's Toby Ng and Grace Gao as the top seeds, with Ireland's brother and sister team, Sam and Chloe Magee, world-ranked at No 43, as the No 3 seeds.
The event will have a real international flavour with players travelling from as far afield as Peru, South Africa, Malaysia, the United States, Canada, Israel and Russia.