ALL ENGLAND 2012 R32 – Suspense continues as British mixed both shine

Both mixed doubles from Great Britain performed above par to advance to the second round of their home event, carrying on the suspense towards the Olympic qualification. Nathan Robertson and […]

Both mixed doubles from Great Britain performed above par to advance to the second round of their home event, carrying on the suspense towards the Olympic qualification. Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork beat Thailand’s Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul while Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier upset top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, to the spectators’ delight.

By Raphael Sachetat, live from Birmingham. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

When Jenny Wallwork was warming up for her women’s doubles match together with Gabby White, she couldn’t refrain from taking quick looks at what was happening on the near court, where Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier (photo) were about to create the upset of the day: they were serving with 4 match points in their racket against the world’s best pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei: the very same pair which had beaten them in the final of the World Championships last year.

But this time – just like in Korea a few weeks ago, the Anglo-Scottish duo was to take the best out of their Chinese opponents, driving the spectators who had stayed to watch past midnight – to the edge of their seats. The wait was well worth it as the locals played a superb game to beat Zhang and Zhao, 17-21, 21-19, 21-19, after the latter saved no fewer than 4 match points, coming back from 15-20 to 19-20 in a thrilling ending.

This feels great, to avenge our defeat from last year, here at home. We had beaten them in Korea but this is home and it feels even better,” said Imogen Bankier.

Bankier played a magnificent game at the net, as highlighted by her partner:  “When Imogen plays at the net as she did tonight, she is one of the best of the world and I just have to try to close it up from the back,” said Adcock, who was running all over the place after their victory.

This success came after the one of Robertson and Wallwork (photo), who beat 11th ranked Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul earlier in the day. “We try to focus on our own game but we have to congratulate them for their win. It’s great for British badminton and for the spectators,” he added.  A few minutes later, Nathan Robertson was twitting similar congratulations to Chris for his wins (Adcock also made it to the second round of the men’s doubles).

In the back of their minds, of course, will be the fact that this win is even more important as Adcock and Bankier won’t be letting Robertson and Wallwork get away with more points from a good first win. The latter had also played a very solid game to beat the Thais in straight games 21-18, 21-18.  Both pairs’ wins will net them a replacement for the meagre points they earned for reaching only the first round at the China Open.

These two wins will make it even more interesting for the local spectators who are following their battle for the sole British spot in the Olympic mixed doubles, with Adcock and Bankier 8 spots but just over 4000 points ahead of their training partners (click here for Badzine’s current Olympic Dummy Lists). With the top seeds out, the former now have to beat Korea’s Yoo and Jang while Robertson and Wallwork have a tougher task against 5th seeds Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei.

In the men’s singles event, Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei beat their opponents in different styles, but both made it to the second round. Taufik had to dig deep to beat Kevin Cordon (photo), the hero of last year’s World Championships, for a final 25-23, 21-17 win. Peter Gade had to wait until 1 am to play his match against Rajiv Ouseph of England, in a never-ending day with more than 16 hours of badminton in one day…

For complete results from Day 2 of the Yonex Premier, CLICK HERE

Click here for live streamed coverage of the All England from the BWF’s Youtube channel

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.