Badminton: Robert Blair pairs up with Japan's Shintaro Ikeda

Robert Blair
Robert Blair is a vastly experienced doubles player, having won a silver medal at the world championships in 2006

Robert Blair will launch a new men's doubles partnership on Wednesday at the Yonex German Open in Mulheim.

The 2006 world men's doubles silver medallist, 33, partners Japan's Shintaro Ikeda for the first time against second seeds Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa, also of Japan.

Blair said: "I'm really looking forward to competing with Shintaro and it's great that we are in the main draw.

"We are also playing the Swiss Open next month so it's an exciting time."

Blair and Ikeda avoided the qualifying rounds thanks to a number of withdrawals but their first-round contest against the Japanese duo, who are ranked sixth in the world, will be a stiff test.

In recent years Blair has enjoyed success in mixed doubles with Imogen Bankier, winning a Commonwealth mixed doubles bronze medal in Glasgow last summer and lifting the Scottish Open Grand Prix title in 2013 and 2014.

He said: "We have a tough first round match in Germany against the second seeds but the standard at this tournament is really good so there are no easy matches."

Kirsty Gilmour
If Kirsty Gilmour gets through her first round match she could face the top seed, Sung Ji Hyun of Korea

Scotland's Paul Van Rietvelde and England's Chris Coles face the Bulgarians Blagovest Kisyov and Stilian Markarski.

If the Anglo-Scottish pair win their opening tie on Tuesday they will then face a Russian or German pair in a qualifying decider with Chi-Lin Wang and Chen Hung Ling awaiting the winners in the first round on Wednesday.

Kirsty Gilmour looks to build on her successful Swedish Masters title defence in January when she goes into first round action on Wednesday night.

The Yonex Scottish Open singles and doubles champion faces Taiwan's Pai Yu Po having won their previous meeting at last year's French Open 13-21 21-12 21-16 against an opponent ranked one place below world number 27 Gilmour. The reward for the winner is a likely second round clash with top seed Sung Ji Hyun of Korea.

Kieran Merrilees, four-time Scottish men's singles champion, has withdrawn because he has not fully recovered from the back problem which forced him to retire injured in the Austrian International in Vienna last week.

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