Smith hoping to build on memorable run at Yonex All England

Yahoo Sport UK
Lauren Smith says she has a newly-acquired appetite for semi-final Saturday at the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham
Lauren Smith says she has a newly-acquired appetite for semi-final Saturday at the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham

Lauren Smith believes her Yonex All England semi-finals appearance alongside Marcus Ellis will be the first of many.

The Longtown-born player went down to a disappointing three game defeat in the mixed doubles last four, ending a memorable run at the competition where her and Ellis knocked out both the world No.4 and No.10 pairings.

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But it wasn’t to be against fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, who dashed their hopes of a famous hometown glory in front of a raucous home crowd at Arena Birmingham.

Smith, however - who stormed to the Thailand Masters title with Ellis in January - says she’s got a newly-acquired taste for semi-final Saturday at the prestigious tournament.

“I think we’ve definitely shown in Thailand and this week that we can beat the best in the world,” she said.

“We’re beating top ten pairs and we’re starting to do it with a little bit more consistency.

“There are still dips in there and there are still things to work on, but I do feel like we’re going in the right direction.

“It’s just because we’re so driven and so determined - we both train really, really hard and that’s just starting to pay off.

“Hopefully this won’t be the last time we’re in the semi-final here and hopefully we can go on better.

“We’re disappointed at the moment, but we’ll look back and we’ll learn from it and we’ll make sure we try and become even better from this week.”

Smith and Ellis went behind as the world No.5 pairing took the first game 21-15, before the home favourites brilliantly restored parity to win the second a thrilling 23-21.

But it wasn’t to be in the decider, as the Indonesian duo held their nerve to triumph 21-11 and show exactly why they stand as reigning French and Denmark Open champions.

And while Jordan was booked in the opening game for slow play - prompting protestations from the English pair - Smith says his antics had nothing to do with the final result.

“He’s quite a relaxed player, as a lot of Indonesian players are, and he’s not in a rush to move on to the next point,” she added.

“The points are very short and sharp, and I think he knows that if he slows the pace down you can lose a little bit of focus in that moment.

“It was frustrating for us as we wanted to rectify the mistakes we made in the previous rally, and he was making us stand there and think about it.

“Maybe it was a tactic, but I think in some ways it’s just how he plays - if you watch other matches, he probably does the same thing.”

Witness Legends Begin at the 2020 Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at Arena Birmingham between March 11-15. Secure your tickets at https://www.allenglandbadminton.com/today.

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