Singles events ready to take center stage at Commonwealth Games

As the dust settles on England’s mixed team campaign in Birmingham our shuttlers face a swift return to action with the singles competitions starting on Wednesday.

Two English players are competing and both will be able to take great confidence from a solid run that saw the team finish fourth in the combined event.

Toby Penty will be back on-court in the men’s singles and looking to go deep in the draw.

Seeded sixth, Penty will bypass the first round and go straight into the last 32.

In the second round, the 29-year-old will face either Nathan Tang of Australia or Sammy Sikoyo of Kenya, who will be making his Games debut after battling through three qualifying rounds to earn the right to represent his country.

If all goes to plan Penty could meet Srikanth Kidambi, who is seeded third, in the last eight in Birmingham.

Kidambi would provide a big challenge having become the first Indian to reach the men’s singles World Championship final last year.

But if the Walton shuttler can match the levels he has shown during the mixed team event, he will be capable of beating anyone.

He also put in a superb display on Tuesday against the reigning men’s singles world champion Loh Kean Yew during England’s bronze medal match, only going down 23-25, 21-11, 25-23 in one of the best contests the 2022 Games has produced. so far

Penty also played some of his best badminton during his thrilling 21-19, 21-19 win over Brian Yang at the quarter-final stage.

In the women’s singles, English interest comes from Freya Patel-Redfearn who is competing at her maiden Commonwealth Games after one year on the BWF World Tour.

She made a flying start to her Team England career winning two from her three rubbers in the group stage of the mixed team event.

This included a 21-6, 21-3 dismantling of Tamisha Williams on the opening day of the Games, in front of a raucous crowd at the NEC.

Her first task in the women’s singles comes in the form of 2021 African Champion Johanita Scholtz.

The South African also won gold at the 2019 African Games and has consistently been on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 150 in recent years.

The winner of that tie will face Sri Lanka’s premier women’s shuttler Vidara Suhasni Vidanage in the second round.

Regardless of results Patel-Redfearn will be gaining crucial major championship experience in Birmingham as she continues her fledging career.

Her teammate Abigail Holden was originally set to join her in the women’s singles draw but was forced to withdraw with a knee injury two weeks ago.

However both English shuttlers, who will take the court, will be hoping home support can roar them on as they look to go deep in the draw.

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