Chris and Gabby Adcock kept their crowns as King and Queen of Europe after coming through an enthralling final to retain their mixed doubles title at the European Championship in Spain.
Having claimed gold for the first time 12 months ago, the Adcocks made it two in a row in Huelva, although they were pushed all the way by Danish second seeds Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen.
However, the English duo secured the emotional victory 21-18 17-21 21-18 in a three-game thriller and in an on-court interview following the triumph, Chris said: “It’s been a really tough week, but we are really proud of this one.”
The top-seeded Adcocks trailed 10-7 in the early stages of the opening game but fought back to lead 18-16 and then won three of the next four points to seal the set.
And they were in control in the second game at 15-10 ahead but Christiansen and Pedersen narrowed the deficit to two and later went on a run of eight points from nine to send the showpiece into a decider.
A back-and-forth final game saw the Danes leading 11-6 and 13-8 but the English duo then claimed six consecutive points to edge ahead.
The Adcocks led 19-18 when Christiansen returned Chris’ serve straight into the net to bring up match point before then leaving a deep return from the 29-year-old that landed right on the line to hand the reigning champions a second European title.
However, there was disappointment for Raj Ouseph as his title defence fell at the final hurdle – suffering a 21-8, 21-7 defeat to Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles final.
Ouseph made history 12 months ago when he became the first Englishman in 27 years to win the European men’s singles title but top seed Axelsen ensured it was silver this time round for the Hounslow shuttler.
The Dane flew out of the blocks to win the first nine points of the match and although the reigning champion closed to 16-8 at one stage, Axelsen reeled off five points on the spin to take the opening game in 14 minutes.
Ouseph started quicker in the second game and took his only lead of the match at 5-4 but the top seed and world champion then claimed 17 of the next 19 points to wrap up a second European title in 31 minutes.
It was the perfect return for Axelsen, who was playing his first tournament back since undergoing ankle surgery, but five-time European medallist Ouseph now has two silvers in addition to his pair of bronzes and last year’s gold.
Photo credit: Badminton Photo