National Champions Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith put up a successful title defense of their Dutch Open mixed doubles crown at the weekend after justifying their billing as top seeds in Almere.
The Commonwealth Games silver medalists won their maiden title together at the then Grand Prix event last year and came through a tough draw 12 months on to become the first England players to retain a Dutch Open title in 32 years.
The Dutch Open has been a happy hunting ground for English badminton in previous years but not since Gillian Gowers in 1986 had back to back championship titles been held by those donning the St George.
Ellis and Smith's own credentials were given the toughest of examinations, having to, once again, defeat the experienced pair of Arends and Piek – their opponents in last year’s final - at the semi final stage.
Sunday’s final against France’s Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue was an altogether more comfortable affair with the English never trailing during the 41 minute title 21-15 21-15 shoot out win.
It is a sixth final on the international circuit and builds upon 2018 finals in Spain, Switzerland and Canada for a pair who are now firmly anchored in the world top 15.
For Smith, the win represented back to back titles having won the Women’s Doubles event with Chloe Birch in the Czech Republic two weeks ago.
Attentions will now turn to Super 750 action in Denmark when the HSBC BWF World Tour returns in Copenhagen.