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Two shots at gold for English players at the European Championships

England will have two representatives in Sunday’s European Championship finals after the Adcocks and Rajiv Ouseph both reached gold medal matches after impressive victories in today’s semi-finals.

It is the first time since 2008 that England have been represented in two finals at the Europeans Championships - and the trio have every chance to end a nine year wait for an English champion of Europe.

Both will face home opponents in Kolding, Denmark, but will be confident after contrasting methods of progression through their semi-final encounters.

For second seed Rajiv Ouseph, tomorrow’s gold medal will be a chance to avenge his loss in the 2014 final.  And he reached the 2017 final the hard way, coming from a game and match point down to win 18-21, 23-21, 21-16 against Denmark’s fourth seed, HK Vittinghus.

After matching each other almost point-for-point in the first game, Vittinghus rattled off three in a row from 18-18 to take it.

And the Dane was within a point of making the final himself in the second game, but Ouseph rallied from 17-11 and 21-20 down, to match his opponent’s feat from the previous game and take the all-important second 23-21.

Another tight game ensued in the decider, but from 11-11 it was Ouseph that looked the most likely, and from 18-16 up he duly got the job done to book a final against fifth-seeded Anders Antonsen, who beat compatriot and top seed Viktor Axelsen 21-17 21-16.

Ouseph has already won a European silver and two bronze during his career and expectations will be high that he can be the first Englishman in 27 years to win the men’s singles title.

Chris and Gabby Adcock, also second seeds in the mixed doubles, had an easier path through to their final with a comfortable 21-14 21-13 win over France’s Ronan Labar and Audrey Fontaine.

England’s top ranked pair looked in control right from the off, winning the first five points to establish a lead they never looked like surrendering.

It was a different story in the second, though, with the French pairing leading 12-8 before the world number sevens hit form to win 13 of the next 14 points and seal their place in the final.

Like Ouseph, they face Danish opposition for the title – in the form of top seeds and reigning champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen – as they look to emulate Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg’s 2008 European gold.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker’s run in the women’s doubles was brought to an end by Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva.

The Bulgarian second seeds prevailed 21-15 21-15 in their last-four encounter, with the English pairing running them close for the first half of each game, before the Stoevas eventually pulled away to secure victory.

Pic: Badminton Photo


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