Chris and Gabby Adcock fell to an agonising defeat at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships on Saturday as Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark advanced to Sunday’s mixed doubles final.
In front of a sell out Barclaycard Arena, the married couple and world number seven pair looked set to take the match into a decider but the Danish fifth seeds saved five game points in the second before winning 21-13, 22-20.
“It is hard to take right now,” said Chris. “We found our game and dominated the second but we are gutted that we couldn’t push on.”
Gabby added: “It’s a sore feeling right now. I felt like I was reading her flicks but she changed and made it more deceptive. It’s frustrating but all credit to them.”
Having beaten Indonesian rivals and former champions Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad in the last eight, the Adcocks’ confidence had been boosted significantly as they reached the last four for the first time.
The Superseries Finals’ champions had lost in their previous two meetings with Nielsen and Pedersen. Both pairs had yet to drop a set this week, yet the English number one’s had grown in confidence and stature through the rounds.
At 19-11 up in the second, a decider beckoned but the Danes edged back and soon levelled.
They won the match with the rally of the contest, the shuttle going to all corners before the Danes fell flat on their backs as they secured their place in the final.
“The slow start cost us, but there are things to improve on,” Gabby admitted. “We are far from finished players and we’ve beaten the best. We are aged 25 and 26 and have a lot of experience in the bank already.”
Neilsen and Pedersen, aiming to win Denmark’s first mixed title since 1995, said: “We’ve watched the All England on television back home for as long as I can remember. It means a lot to reach the final as we’ve tried for many years.” They will now play a title showdown against Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto.
China’s Lin Dan, regarded as the finest player the sport has ever seen, will bid for a sixth YONEX All England Open Badminton Championship men’s singles title after the 32-year-old secured his berth in Sunday’s final.
But no top seeds will contest the final after world champion Carolina Marin was beaten as the YONEX All England continued to produce upsets.
Fifth-seeded Lin came from a game down for the third match in a row to beat younger compatriot Xue Song 18-21 21-15 21-9 to reach his first final since 2012.
“In the last few matches I have made mistakes but I was really pleased how I came back,” said Lin, the double Olympic champion.
“My winter training has really improved things and it has given me plenty of physical reserves.”
Lin will play fellow compatriot Tian Houwei in Sunday’s showdown after the Chinese beat Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, Denmark’s surprise semi-finalist.
In the women’s singles, Nozomi Okuhara will aim to become Japan’s first women’s singles winner since 1977 after ousting Marin, Spain’s title holder.
Okuhara overcame Marin 11-21 21-16 21-14 following a superb performance and will now meet fellow finalist Wang Shixian on her 21st birthday.
“I’m aware that the target on my back is getting bigger but I am very excited about that,” said Okuhara, whose opponent has twice won the YONEX All England.
Okuhara’s compatriots Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa will contest the men’s doubles final against European champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov, the Russian duo who have proved to be the surprise package this week.
In the mixed doubles, England’s Chris and Gabby Adcock fell short of a first home final as Denmark’s Joachim Nielsen and Christinna Pederson .
The Indonesians beat world champions and title holders Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 21-19, 21-16.
The women’s doubles will be a battle between Misaki Matsuotomo and Ayaka Takahashi, Japan’s third pair in Sunday’s final, and China’s Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang.
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Report courtesy of Badminton England