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Dunn and O'Donnell reach European final

 

Alex Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell are one win away from the mixed doubles gold medal at the European Junior Championships 2017 in Mulhouse.

The young Scotland stars defeated Poland’s top seeds Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swierczynska 19-21 21-14 22-20 in this afternoon’s first match on semi-finals day and the victory meant Dunn bettered his bronze medal with Adam Hall in men’s doubles at the 2015 Europeans in Lubin.

Tomorrow Motherwell’s Dunn and Beith’s O’Donnell will face Russian second seeds Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in the final.

In the semi-final the Polish pair dictated the first game but the Scots responded well in the second by leading all the way.

In the decider the Poles made all the early running but the two 18-year-olds fought back from 14-8 down thanks to a six-point surge to get back in contention.

They then gained the upper hand to lead 19-17 and held two match points at 20-18 before Smilowski and Swierczynska drew level at 20-20.

But the Scots kept calm and took the contest on their third match point after a 46-minute duel.

Coach Robert Blair said: "Alex and Eleanor showed great steel and determination to come from behind to win 22-20 in the decider.

"The contest was focussed on serve and receive, which made it difficult to get rhythm. A tight first set was lost, before a dominant second was easily won.

"The Polish looked to have taken control of the third before Eleanor went on a strong serving run to put them in front. They managed to let two match points slip before finishing well on the third."

BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: "This is a marvellous result. Let's hope Alex and Eleanor can go all the way in tomorrow's final but whatever the outcome they have done Scotland proud."

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