Two men’s doubles pairs into European Games semis

By Badminton England

Great Britain will have two representatives in the men’s doubles semi-finals at the 2023 European Games following a successful day of knockout action in Krakow.

Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall booked their place in the last four with an impressive 21-11 21-12 victory over Melker Zickerman-Bexell and Joel Hansson, requiring just 26 minutes to overcome the Swedish pair.

Top seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen lie in wait next up and the Scottish duo are relishing the challenge.

“We performed how we know we can and at a very good level so that’s the most important thing to take into tomorrow – have the confidence and take it to the big boys,” Dunn said.

“The performances we have shown have been pretty good and this was another one we’re ecstatic with.”

Hall added: “I felt terrible all day and I don’t normally feel nervous – even when we got to the European final last year I didn’t feel like that at any point, so I’m really happy to get through that quite comfortably. We can really look forward to charging forward for the final now.”

Ben Lane and Sean Vendy are on the other side of the men’s doubles draw and sealed their semi-final berth with a 21-15 21-15 triumph over Netherlands’ Ruben Jille and Ties van der Lecq.

“We didn’t start off amazing, it’s obviously a quarter final match so there’s always some nerves in there, it doesn’t matter who you are playing,” Lane said.

“We came out after the break in the first set really solid. Sean served through from 11-7 down to 12-11 to get us right back in the game, and then we just managed to stay solid from then throughout the whole match.”

Kirsty Gilmour came from a game down to keep her medal hopes alive and confirm a spot in the quarter-finals.

Hungary’s Vivien Sándorházi claimed the opener 21-17 but Gilmour hit back to take the next two by the same scoreline and set up a last eight clash with Danish third seed Line Kjærsfeldt.

“Crazy things always happen at European Games because the tensions are very high but I feel like I was ‘good nervous’ this morning and last night,” she said.

“Fair play to Vivien, she stuck in and just really sent it back, more than I was expecting actually, so it’s a really good lesson for me to learn in the last 16 and it’s good to get that kind of lung buster before we get to the fun zone.”

Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance saw their European Games adventure end at the quarter-final stage in the women’s doubles, going down in a decider against third seeds Margot Lambert and Anne Tran (13-21 21-16 13-21).

“We’ve really enjoyed the experience but we came here and wanted to get a medal so we are feeling quite disappointed,” MacPherson said.

“I’m proud of how we fought in that match and even though we lost, we can be quite pleased with our performance.”

Torrance added: “We’ve shown what kind of level we are at, in this match especially.

“Even the couple of sets we lost, every rally was to the death.

“It’s always quite an experience coming to a big multisport event like this and it gives you a taste of hopefully what’s to come if we keep working.”

Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, meanwhile, sealed top spot in their group with a third consecutive victory.

They defeated Philip Birker and Katharina Hochmeir 21-10 21-9 and can now look ahead to facing Poland’s Paweł Śmiłowski and Magdalena Świerczyńska in the mixed doubles quarter-finals on Friday morning.

Smith said: “Having a rest day without the travel yesterday was good and we just wanted to come out and assert our authority on the game.

“We started really strongly and it was hard mentally for them from there on, so we are happy with that performance.”

Ellis added: “Being in a group stage is nice as you feel you get some form of momentum before you get to the business end of the competition.

“We just want to keep improving that little extra few percent every match and hopefully if we’re here by the end of the week we’ll be in with a shout.”

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