Comeback king and queen Tabeling and Piek go again at All England

Tabeling and Piek have twice come from behind to advance to the quarter-finals
Tabeling and Piek have twice come from behind to advance to the quarter-finals

When tiredness kicks in, champions are made, writes Sportsbeat's Milly McEvoy.

And while Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek are a long way from being able to call themselves champions, they have earned another title in Birmingham this week – comeback king and queen.

The Dutch pair have advanced to the mixed doubles quarter-finals with two deciding game victories, spending almost two hours on court.

“I'd rather be the two-set victory king and queen,” Tabeling said. “We have needed to dig deep this week.

“And I think it shows how strong we are mentally and how eager we are to win mentally, to keep going and keep trying.

“It's been really beneficial to have sessions with our psychologist. She was really good with helping us understand the other’s perspective when things get tight and emotional so you can understand each other.

“What can I do to help or what do I do that doesn't help my teammate?

“You need to help each other in the very tight moments and if you say one bad thing, sometimes you don't know you are doing it, it influences your partner negatively.

“To understand each other better is crucial."

The pair riff off each other another on and off court, with Piek expanding how the two have built their communication.

Through their 14-21 21-13 24-22 win over Mathias Thyrri and Amalie Magelund or their 17-21 21-19 21-16 triumph over Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei, Tabeling and Piek have never looked out of it.

That may be because, for Piek, being out of it is impossible.

She said: “It’s in our DNA, you never want to lose and you don't want to give your opponents the victory.

“In sports, momentum can change quickly so it's about believing and hanging in there. We try to encourage each other, the tone of voice is very important.

“I'm a little bit more emotional than Robin so when I need to calm him down, I need to say more tactical things and he just needs to encourage me and be positive.

“I think we know that from each other and it works really well.”

Tabeling and Piek have spent all of their time at the YONEX All England Open on Court 3 and even joked that they would like to be there again for their meeting with Ye Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin in Day Four's second session.

But for the quarter-finals, only two courts are used and the pressure ramps up with eyes on them.

The duo are used to the attention though with fans in the Utilita Arena unable to look away from their dramatic games and big celebrations.

Tabeling added: “The crowd gives us an extra percentage, there are some Dutch people getting behind us and the crowd was giving us support.

“We hope it carries on.”

As he got to the end of his media duties, the elation of winning was still there for Tabeling but the fatigue was setting in.However, his resolve hardened as he thought about doing battle again.

“The longer games can be a little bit tighter, it's a difference of 20-25 minutes on court,” he said.

“The muscle pain is a little bit worse, but we just want to win."

Piek chimed in, ably supporting her partner once again: "I don't care how we win; I just want to win."

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