Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith brought the sunshine during these cloudy times, qualifying for the semi-final after a tremendous quarter-final over Tang/Tse, which came amid mounting calls for the early cancellation of the tournament an account of the current global spread of the Covid-19 virus.
By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Birmingham. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)
Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith (pictured) extended their All England fairy-tale after a majestic performance when they prevailed over Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet, in three gruelling games.
While Ellis and Smith lost dramatically the first game 24-26 despite having a game point, they displayed some fantastic mental and technical abilities to gain the second game 22-20 after saving three match points.
They wound up with a career highlight as they booked a spot in their first ever semi-final at the most prestigious event of all, winning the decider 21-14 after an hour and twenty-four minutes.
“It is unbelievable. It is my first semi-final in a Superseries event and now I have done it at the All England in front of my home crowd,” commented Lauren Smith, obviously very delighted with her performance.
The pair is contributing to a tremendous history of mixed doubles success from Great Britain, with notable Athens silver medallist Nathan Roberston and Gail Emms, Simon Archer and Joanne Goode and most recently with Gabby and Chris Adcock.
“We came here at seven, eight years old and we dreamt of playing here, so to make it to the semi-final is so special. We are at that point where we feel like anything can happen!” commented Marcus Ellis. The pair is now ready to meet Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti for a place into the final.
Olympic champion Carolina Marin (pictured) continues to impress in Birmingham as she reached the semi-final of the event, without dropping a single game so far. Her last victim, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, appeared unable to stop the Spaniard’s ardour during the whole encounter.
“Whenever I travel to a tournament, my main goal is, of course, to win, so I do my very best to remain focused at all time and try to think match by match in order to achieve that,” commented Marin after her match.
The former world #1 was clearly trying to forget the disastrous accident that occurred to her father a few weeks ago, which landed him in the hospital due to a domestic accident: “I try not to talk or think about it, even though I talk with my family everyday about him, he is not in a good state right now,” comented Carolina Marin. With her 21-15, 21-12 win over Yamaguchi, she prepares to face Tai Tzu Ying, in the semi-finals.
Japan’s men’s double wonders Yuta Watanabe and Hiroyuki Endo (pictured) denied title-holders Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan another crown this year. They superbly defeated the world #2 pair 21-19, 21-18 in only thirty-five minutes. Watanabe’s pride spoke for itself after his early loss in mixed doubles. The versatile Japanese athlete showed extremely inventive badminton against the Indonesian pair dubbed by their fans as ‘the Daddies’.
As expected by many, the BWF announced the suspension of all sanctioned tournaments until April 12th, following moves by sporting bodies in various categories around the world, while the virus begins to spread widely in Europe and in many other countries. In an attempt to reassure most of the players who started being reluctant to travel in these uncertain times, the BWF assured it will come up soon with a statement about the Olympic qualification points, as the All England could become the last opportunity for players to gain few decisive points towards the Tokyo Olympics.
Click here for complete quarter-final results