Chris and Gabby Adcock hailed the euphoric home crowd as they pulled off a remarkable comeback to progress to the All England Open Badminton Championship semi-finals in Birmingham.
The Adcocks, ranked seventh in the world in mixed doubles, faced reigning Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in their quarter-final clash – a duo they have faced at the last eight stage at the previous two Championships.
The Indonesians have lifted the All England title no fewer than three times, and looked to be cruising to victory over the Adcocks as the English pair struggled in the opening game, allowing their opponents to win 21-16.
But the Adcocks battled back in the second, eventually prevailing 21-19, before making light work of the third game to complete their comeback with a 21-12 score.
And while they were the first to admit to their slow start, the Adcocks were over the moon with the fighting spirit on display.
“Nerves definitely had their part to play today,” said Chris. “I wasn’t moving as fluently as yesterday for sure.
“I was a bit static which was a bit frustrating. They are the best pair in the world at making people feel that way, they were Olympic champions just a few months ago.
“I think the key learning curve here was how great we were under pressure. We showed a real resilience today when we could have easily folded and been going home.
“To show that resilience and go through in a real tough situation was great, and I think we’ve got to thank the crowd for that a lot.
“Hopefully we can play better tomorrow, although I’d take play like this if we win again.”
In Saturday’s semi-final, the Adcocks face another tough challenge in the form of fifth seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqoing of China.
Yet with just one victory standing between them and a first All England final appearance, the Adcocks are determined to thrill the home crowd once more.
“It would be huge for us if we win [on Saturday]. We’ve come here to win but we’ll take each match at a time,” said Gabby.
“We got to the semi-final last year so we obviously want to do better, and we do want to win. We’ll go out fighting.”
Chris added: “It’s going to be very tough, any Chinese pair is tough. They’re ranked fifth in the world so it will be difficult, but hopefully us playing a bit better with that resilience we showed today shows we’ve got enough to win.
“The mixed doubles is anyone’s game now, there are some great pairs left in so hopefully we can be there on Sunday.”
The world's best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England (7-12 March)
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