Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith maintained their 100 per cent record in the Olympic mixed doubles competition, powering to an impressive win over third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai to maintain their podium push.
The British duo had lost to the Thai pair, ranked No.2 in the world, in straight games in all four of their previous meetings.
But with their quarter-final berth already confirmed, the in-form Ellis and Smith clinched their third win in Group B with a memorable 21-12 21-19 triumph.
Having already seen off France’s Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue, and Canadian pair Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Josephine Wu, table-toppers Ellis and Smith can now look forward to a last-eight clash with Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong on Wednesday.
And with momentum growing going into the latter stages of the competition, Ellis, 31, believes his bronze medal-winning experience alongside Chris Langridge at Rio 2016 is standing him and his partner in good stead on sport’s greatest stage.
“I’m into my early 30s now, I’m starting to be one of the older people on the tour,” Ellis said.
“I still feel like I’m 21, I have had a lot of experience in these situations and maybe that is making the difference when it really counts.
“We said there were some things we could improve on and yesterday was a key match.
“We came out today with a clear mind, and I think we were very focused. I think the pressure was turned up on our opponents as well, so we’re really, really happy.”
After overcoming one of the pre-tournament medal favourites Smith insists the sky is the limit for her and Ellis – ranked eighth in the world – ahead of the knockout rounds.
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She said: “We’ve proven today that there’s no obstacle too big, it’s just about making sure we prepare mentally right for every match and take the opportunities that have been given to us.
“Everyone we play against now, we’ll be underdogs and I think that’s a huge bonus. We’re really excited for another opportunity going forward.”
Despite tasting victory alongside Ellis it was a somewhat bittersweet day for 29-year-old Smith, as a 21-11 21-13 defeat to Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu saw her and partner Chloe Birch eliminated from the women’s doubles competition.
After being undone by Japanese top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in their first match the pair will sign off from Group A against Malaysia’s Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean on Tuesday (2.40am BST), determined to finish on a high.
Smith said: “It was a frustrating one but I think they were just better than us today. They are tough opponents and we didn’t really settle into the right tactics.
“We went in and out of it and got the style right, but we gave them a lot of room to play with which in women’s doubles you just can’t really do.”
Birch added: “We’ll focus on recovery now – the last time we played the Malaysian pair it was quite a long three-setter.
“They are fighters so we expect it to be a tough game, but it is our last match and we will give it everything.”
Ben Lane and Sean Vendy saw their exit from the men’s doubles confirmed with a game to spare, following a 21-17 21-14 defeat to Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin of Chinese Taipei.
The world No.18 pair face India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in their final outing of the Games on Tuesday (4am BST).
Lane said: “It’s tough to come to such a big event and not really find any rhythm in your game. But sometimes that’s how it is, especially when you’re playing the top pairs.
“Just because we’ve lost the first two matches doesn’t mean we’re going to approach the last match in a different way. We want to win every match we play and see what happens.”
Besides the conclusions to the women’s and men’s doubles group stages, Tuesday also marks the first appearance of Toby Penty and Kirsty Gilmour at Tokyo 2020, in the men’s and women’s singles respectively.
Penty gets underway in Group K against Kai Schäfer at 2.40am BST, before Gilmour takes on Pakistan’s Mahoor Shahzad at 6am BST.