The reigning Olympic champions lie in wait for Chris and Gabby Adcock after they sealed their berth in the last eight of the All England Badminton Championships with stylish victory.
The Adcocks, playing in front of a jubilant home crowd at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena, faced Chinese duo Xu Chen and Du Yue, the former of whom knocked them out of last year’s Rio Games.
But any pre-match angst was not on show as the Adcocks, ranked seventh in the world, flew out of the traps to take the first game 21-17.
The second followed in much the same fashion, with the English pair executing their tactics perfectly to wrap up a 21-12 triumph and secure their spot in the quarter-finals.
“We came out really strong, and had such a specific plan to put in place which we did really well,” said Gabby.
"I think we were even sharper than yesterday which is good and we came out of the blocks really strong.
“I think the key point in the match was when they tried to change play, but we really implemented our tactics. We thought it could be tricky, but I think we performed really well.
“We were moving fast, and I think Chris was very attacking and good with his placement and angle, which set me up really well for the net.
“We stuck to our plan throughout, which sometimes we can waver from.”
In Friday’s quarter-final, the Adcocks will face Rio gold medallists Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, an Indonesian pairing who have lifted the All England title in multiple years.
But having beaten their Asian opponents at the quarter-final stage of last year’s tournament, Chris sees no reason why the same can’t happen again.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough game,” he said. “They’re a fantastic pair, I think they’ve won here three times over the last five years, so it’s going to be incredibly tough but we know we can beat them.
“We beat them at the same stage last year so it will be a rematch of that, and we’re looking for the same result.
“It doesn’t get any harder than the Olympic champions but we’re up for the challenge and really excited.
“We’ll go out there, give it our all, and hopefully the home crowd will give us an edge.”
There was disappointment however for men’s doubles pairing Tom Wolfenden and Peter Briggs, as they were eliminated from the competition with defeat to the fifth seeds.
Facing Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Wolfenden and Briggs more than gave their opponents a run for their money in the opening exchanges.
But it wasn’t to be for the English stars as the Indonesians eventually prevailed 21-13 21-14 to ensure progression to the next round.
The world's best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England (7-12 March)
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