Lauren Smith Marcus Ellis YAE Day One 1200

12 March 2024

Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis advanced in the all-English battle at the YONEX All England Badminton Championships 2024. 

Up against Gregory and Jenny Mairs in the first round of the mixed doubles, Smith and Ellis triumphed in a war of attrition.

Smith and Ellis won 19-21 21-16 22-20 in an enthralling battle that delighted the crowd.

The Mairs took the first set having opened up an early advantage but were soon pegged back in the second.

The match moved to a deciding game and the Utilita Arena were rewarded with a close final set that saw the Mairs force Ellis and Smith to a second match point before the higher-ranked pair took it.

Ellis and Smith advance to the second round to face seed-topplers Dejan Ferdinansyah and Gloria Emmanuelle Widjaja.

“I would say it wasn’t the best game any of us on the court have ever played,” Smith said.

“I think it’s also so nervy and quite a difficult atmosphere playing your countrymen.

“We know each other so well, there’s a different kind of pressure in there and the game really could have gone either way.

“Obviously, we are absolutely elated to have taken it, it feels great to be on the winning side of it.

“And I think credit to us for sticking in when it wasn’t the nicest game, it would have been quite easy to get frustrated and be like, ‘Oh, it’s not going how we want it to go’.

“But actually, we we’re like, ‘No, we’re just going to dig our heels and it’s going to be what it’s going to be’ and we got there in the end.”

Smith and Ellis will now face seed-topplers Dejan Ferdinansyah and Gloria Emmanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia on Thursday after they beat Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin of China.

For the Mairs, they will look to regroup ahead of the Spain Masters and the European Championships.

Gregory said: “We’re pretty resilient. You can see that in our careers, we’ve never been the best but we’ve found a way.

“This time last year, we had a heartbreaking loss and in Madrid two weeks later we came back and played the best badminton we have ever played in our lives and reached the semi-final so we will pick ourselves up and go again like we always do.

“This tournament is always special to us. This year, we were so focussed on the process, doing what it took to win that match and we didn’t so right now we are devastated.”

The final English pairing Ben Lane and Sean Vendy will take to the hallowed YONEX All England court on Wednesday.

Be part of All The Action at the All England. Tickets are still available at Can’t be in Birmingham this week? You can still see badminton’s most prestigious tournament play out on BBC Sport and TNT Sports. Don’t miss a minute!

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