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(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Ellis/ Smith top group B after big win
Date: 7/26/2021 1:11 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The Team GB pair of Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith were many fans ‘dark horses’ in the mixed doubles and today they certainly showed why. Defeating the number three seeds they advance to the quarterfinals as group winners. 

Both Ellis/Smith and Thai pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai scored two wins out of two in the group without dropping a game. This secured promotion for both pairs, however, winning the group will put them at a distinct advantage in the draw for the knockout stages. 

The European silver medallists caught their opponents cold and took the opening game 21-12. They continued their aggressive and physical game into the second game; however, the 2019 World silver medallists began to regain control. 

It was too little too late in the end, as Ellis/ Smith held their nerve to gain a valuable win - 21-12, 21-19.

-Yesterday we said there were a few things to work on and today we came out with a clear mind. We were focused and the pressure was turned up on our opponents, said Ellis. 

The value of experience
Both players played in Rio 2016 and have been in countless high-pressure situations. 

-I am now in my early 30’s and I'm one of the older guys but I still feel 21. I have a lot of experience in these situations, and I think it is making a difference when it counts, Ellis explains.

Asked where this win ranks amongst their career successes, Smith replies. 

-It's up there. We haven't beaten them before. We've lost to them a few times. So, for us to do it on this stage is very important and it makes a big difference going forward. We knew after yesterday that this was a freebie game and that took the pressure off, and it was ours to take and theirs to lose and I kept reminding myself of that. 

Couples fairy-tale
Ellis and Smith are partners on and off court. When asked whether their relationship is a badminton fairy-tale, Smith laughs and responds. 

-Oh no, don’t say that. I might vomit…It would be a nice badminton romance with a few medals around our necks. 

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