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England stars reach top spot in Ukraine

It was a return to winning ways for women’s doubles pairing Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch at the RSL Kharkiv International at the weekend.

The top seeds toppled Canada’s second seeds, Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai, 21-14, 21-18 to stand on top of the podium.

Their victory follows their silver medal achievement in Minsk at the European Games back in June and will boost their ranking points as they strive for Olympic qualification this year.

There was further success after an All-English final saw third seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy beat top seeds and Olympic bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, 21-19, 21-18.

Having reached the final of the Polish International in March and the Denmark Challenge in May, the duo were able to push further and gain their first champions crown of 2019.


Lane also paired up with Jess Pugh in the mixed doubles, just missing out on a place in the final after defeat to France’s Fabien Delrue and Vimala Heriau, 21-16, 18-21, 21-17.

Jenny Moore and Vicky Williams also reached the semi-finals, losing out to Honderich and Tsai, with Williams also just missing out with Greg Mairs in the mixed doubles. They lost their semi-final against Poland’s Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swierczynska.

Mairs, alongside Callum Hemming, faced Langridge and Ellis in the men’s doubles semi-final stage, with the top seeds advancing 21-12, 22-20.

In the men’s singles, Toby Penty reached the semi-finals, losing 21-12, 21-18 to Ade Resky Dwicahyo of Azerbaijan.

Up next for the team is the Belgian International which starts on Wednesday.