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Rory Easton and Zach Russ continued their good form by finishing as runners-up at the 2021 Irish Open.

The pair, who also took the second step on the podium at the Hungarian International at the start of the month, made a confident start in Dublin and came through the opening three rounds in straight sets.

An hour-long semi-final epic then saw the seventh seeds hold their nerve in a tense three-set contest, prevailing 23-21 in a decider against Malaysia’s Junaidi Arif and Muhammad Haikal.

That set up a final showpiece with another talented Malaysian pair, sixth seeds Man Wei Chong and Tee Kai Wun.

A one-sided first set went the way of the Malaysians 21-7 and though Easton and Russ battled hard in the second, they succumbed 21-17.

The eventual champions had earlier ended Avinash Gupta and Brandon Zhi Hao Yap’s excellent run at the semi-final stage.

Gupta and Yap knocked out Scottish fourth seeds, and brothers, Christopher and Matthew Grimley on their way to the last four and took a thrilling opening set 24-22 against Man and Tee.

But the Malaysians, who also accounted for Matthew Clare and Ethan van Leeuwen in the quarter-finals, hit back to take the next two 21-6, 21-13 to prevent all-English final.

Men’s doubles finalist Easton was also in action in the mixed alongside Annie Lado, the pair looking to continue their momentum after lifting the Hungarian Open title.

But a tough first-round draw pitted them against second seeds Mikkel Mikkelsen and Rikke Søby, who triumphed 21-18, 21-14.

The other half of the draw saw Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore embark on a fine run to the semi-finals, including the scalps of Danish fourth seeds Rasmus Espersen and Christine Busch as well as the sixth seeds Anton Kaisti and Alzbeta Basova – closing out a straight sets victory against the latter with a 27-25 success.

Mairs and Moore eventually met their match in top seeds Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek, who won in straight sets to reach a final they also prevailed comfortably in to take the title.

The third English pair in the draw, William and Charlotte Freer, went out to home favourites Paul Reynolds and Rachael Darragh in the first round.

In the women’s doubles, Grace King and Lado received a bye through the first round before going out in three sets against Scottish pair Lauren Middleton and Holly Newall.

Three English players made it into the singles main draw but they each went out in the first round.

Cholan Kayan went down 22-20 21-16 against India’s Kiran George in the men’s draw while Michelle Ting and Gauri Shidhaye were handed tough opponents in the women’s event.

Ting lost in straight sets against Australian third seed Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen while the same fate befell Shidhaye against top seed and eventual runner-up Line Højmark Kjaersfeldt.

The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships return to Utilita Arena Birmingham with the best players from around the world from 16th – 20th March 2022.

Don’t miss out, get your tickets today.

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