Chris and Gabby Adcock took a giant step towards their dream of lifting the YONEX All England Open title on Friday, showing incredible fighting spirit to overcome familiar foe and progress to the last four.
In their third successive quarter-final clash with Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, the Adcocks required a deciding game to prevail over the Indonesians for the second time in a row at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena.
A slow start from the world number seven duo saw the Indonesians – YONEX All England champions on three previous occasions – storm to take the first game 21-16.
But the Adcocks soon found their usual blistering form, however, stepping their pace up a gear to level the scores and send the contest into a decider with a 21-19 win.
From then on, they had full control of matters on court, and let their opponents have little say in the third game to prevail 21-12 and seal their spot in the semi-finals.
And for Gabby, victory was a thanks to the vociferous home crowd, who she admitted had been the driving force behind their turn in fortunes.
“We came out really slow out of the blocks. We’re not sure why, we think [our opponents] make you feel like that,” she said.
“Their shot quality at the start was high and our speed wasn’t quite up to 100 per cent, so with the two combined, we were struggling a little bit.
“We managed to turn it around, get our legs going a bit more and I think the nerves came out of our system a bit quicker, and we got going from there.
“The crowd played such a big part today, I really noticed there was quite a few cheers, some passionate ones, and it really made us relax.
“We’re at home, we’re playing in front of everybody who is desperate for us to win, and it made such an impact.”
Just one more victory stands between the Adcocks and Sunday’s final, with a record crowd expected in the Midlands over the weekend.
In Saturday’s last four clash, they face fifth seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong of China, and while Adcock is only too aware of the challenge that lies in wait, he’s confident more success is on the cards.
“Hopefully we can play better tomorrow, although I’d take play like today’s if we win again,” he said.
“It’s going to be very tough, any Chinese pair is tough. They’re ranked fifth in the world so it will be difficult, but hopefully us playing a bit better with that resilience we showed today shows we’ve got enough to win.
“The mixed doubles is anyone’s game now, there are some great pairs left in so hopefully we can be there on Sunday.”
Photo: Badminton Photo
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