Twice they stood on the precipice but Chris and Gabby Adcock refused to fall – or be pushed over – as they saved two match points yesterday to reach the 2018 European Championships final and earn a shot at defending their title.
A boisterous and captivated crowd watched the English duo claw back from 8-1 and 17-13 deficits in the deciding game versus Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich who threw all they had at their opponents. The Germans came up agonisingly short as the husband-and-wife partners seized victory on their third match point.
“We kept telling ourselves that we have been in that position before and come back and knew we could do it again. We just kept believing. We have to be proud of what we did today…we enjoyed that match,” said the Adcocks after eking through 21-17 15-21 25-23.
Their task doesn’t get any easier as they lock horns with Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen in today’s title-decider. The Danes came through a testing semi-final also, holding off England’s other top pair, Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, 21-16 19-21 21-12.
Men’s Doubles produced equally riveting action as Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding fought doggedly to prove why they are the No.2 seeds and to not squander their chance at continental glory in the absence of their elder countrymen, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. They survived a rampant challenge from Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov, with the third game swinging one way and then the next. However, the Danes came through 21-11 19-21 21-19 and will play their team-mates Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen for the championship. The latter beat Jelle Maas/Robin Tabeling of Netherlands (21-15 21-18).
Women’s Doubles has gone also somewhat to script as No.2 seeds, Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva, marched into the final with a 21-10 21-18 win over Maiken Fruergaard and Sara Thygesen. Thus Denmark’s hopes of retaining the title held by Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Pedersen were dashed. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian sisters will meet Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran in the final after the French ousted Selena Piek/Cheryl Seinen of Netherlands (17-21 21-18 21-19).
“It is the first time that a French pair in Women’s Doubles has a medal, so it is very important for us,” the thrilled pair told Badminton Europe.
Admittedly the underdogs in the final, Lefel and Tran think that could work in their favour.
“We lost every time, so we will go really free, try to do everything and be ready to keep the tactics and do our best.”
In Men’s Singles, world No.1 Viktor Axelsen clashes with defending champion, Rajiv Ouseph, for the crown. The Englishman outgunned Jan Jorgensen, 21-17 18-21 21-15, in their semi-final. Danish star Axelsen spent far less time on court, demolishing France’s Brice Leverdez (21-7 21-9) in 32 minutes.
Meanwhile, Carolina Marin, is one win away from a moment that would be indelibly etched in her memory – defending her European title in her hometown of Huelva in a stadium named in her honour. The Spaniard came through her semi-final with a controlled 21-17 21-16 success versus Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark. Only Russia’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya stands between Marin and the ultimate prize after she cruised past Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt (21-10 21-14).