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New partnership brings immediate success in Brno

Take two national champions and pair them up in a new partnership to take on the European circuit and World Tour – and get immediate results.

That is the success story of new Women’s Doubles duo Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch who today won the Czech Open after beating the top seeds – Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran – in the final.

And it was the dominant manner of the 21-14 21-14 50-minute win - packed with chemistry and understanding - over a French pair with vast experience at International Challenge level that raised eyebrows.

The England pair, unseeded for the trip to the Brno, are no strangers to each others game having first played together five years ago at the London Grand Prix Gold at the Copper Box - a now defunct London 2012 legacy event.

Success too is no stranger with the duo pairing up to win the Belgian International as English badminton reshuffled its pack after Rio 2016 and Heather Olver’s retirement.

A check and challenge period and a rack of new partners later, the pair are reunited as attentions look towards an Olympic qualification year for Tokyo 2020.

For Smith, the win in the Czech Republic saw her defend the Czech Open crown she won with Sarah Walker last year.

Brno has also proved a happy hunting ground for the 7 time national champion, having won the Czech International with Walker two years ago.

Speaking to Badminton Europe after the win, Smith said: "It’s nice to play these tournaments as a new pair to discover how we want to play.

"It’s been a positive week for us."

The pair will next be in action at the Dutch Open before returning to HSBC BWF World Tour action in Denmark where the current world number ones offer a first round chance to build further.