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(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Comeback central in the mixed
Date: 3/17/2022 9:45 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
There were European smiles and also hands on head in the mixed doubles category on day two at the All England Open.

Europe has not seen a mixed doubles All England champion since Nathan Robertson/ Gail Emms in 2005. Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith have come closest with back-to-back semifinals in 2020 and 2021. They did this with a limited and also no crowd in the arena, but this year they were taking in the atmosphere with the excited fans back. 

In round two they faced the Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko/ Misaki Matsutomo for the first time. Losing the opening game, they stared two match points in the face and saved them, to the utter delight of the crowd. On their own second game point, they converted and forced a decider – which caused the biggest cheer of the week. 

It was déjà vu in the decider, another two match points saved for the English pair. But this time the Japanese were able to hold off the surge and take the match, 21-15 21-23 22-20 in 68 minutes. 

It will now be an all-Japanese quarterfinal against the reigning champions Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino. 

France find their way again
It’s another quarterfinal for Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue after a good win over the new German combination of Jones Ralfy Jansen/ Linda Efler, who are fast finding their feet. 

-It was a good match either side of the last part of the second game, Gicquel laughed. 

The French pair flew out of the blocks and took the opener and were in control in the second game, 18-14 up. However, Jansen/ Efler did not give up and mounted a great comeback, forcing a decider. 

-We began to do well in the mid-court game. We were in a good mood and really wanted to win the second game and that was the key, stated Efler. 

Gicquel/ Delrue were able to pull away in the third game and ultimately secured the victory, 21-11 20-22 21-15. 

-We are very happy; it is always good to be in the quarterfinal of the All England. It is always difficult to get back up in the third game, but we shouted more to be more aggressive and refocus our game, they both said laughing. 

They will now face the number one in the world pair who are in imperious form, Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai. The French pair have caused upsets in the past and have a win over the Thai pair in 2020. It will certainly be one to watch! 

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