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Title defences still on as Ouseph and Adcocks battle to European finals

A nail-biting semi-final saw Chris and Gabby Adcock keep their title defence alive as they made the mixed doubles final at the European Championships.

The English duo beat Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich 21-17 15-21 25-23 in a thrilling clash, paving the way for tomorrow’s final against Danish pair Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen.

The Danes eliminated English duo Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 21-16 19-21 21-12 to reach the final, but their countryman Jan Ø Jørgensen did not fare so well in the men’s singles as England’s Rajiv Ouseph reached the final at his expense.

On a day in which all English representatives went the distance, the Adcocks went further than anyone in their 63-minute match against the fifth seeds, accelerating away in the latter stages of what was a cat-and-mouse affair in the opener to take it 21-17.

The Germans bounced back in the second, leading the English pair from the off and hurtling into the lead at 13-8.

The Adcocks attempted to claw the game back but struggled to break the 14-point mark, the Germans in control and marching ahead to force a decider.

And it appeared they would steal the match as they enjoyed a 9-1 lead in the final game, but the Adcocks gradually chipped away at their advantage to eventually draw level at 17-apiece.

The Adcocks saved two match points before levelling at 21-21 and then spurning two opportunities of their own.

But a third was not to go begging and the married couple sealed it to guarantee themselves at least a silver medal.

Rajiv Ouseph Euro semi embed

Ouseph was also pushed the hour mark but managed to wrap up a 21-17 18-21 21-15 victory in 56 minutes.

No more than three points separated he and the 2014 champion in the opening game with the Dane opening up a 15-12 lead mid-way through the encounter.

But Ouseph hit back to level at 15-15, and from 17-apiece he accelerated to take the game with a run of four straight points.

The second was a similarly tight affair but a reverse of the opener as Jorgensen fighting back from 10-6 down to force a decider.

The Englishman fared better in the third, though, never surrendering the lead after moving away from when the pair were tied at 11-11.

It was not to be for Ellis and Smith, though, as they battled valiantly against the second seeds, forcing a third game with a hard-fought win in the second.

But the Danes proved too strong in the decider, taking the lead from 5-5 and never looking back to book their place in Sunday’s final alongside the Adcocks.

Sunday’s schedule sees Ouseph become the first English singles player to reach back-to-back European finals since Darren Hall, 28 years ago.

While he also has the chance to become the first player to retain a European singles crown in 32 years.

He plays Axelsen in the third match on court, while the Adcocks take on Christiansen and Pedersen in the final match of the event.