Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brits Show True Grit to Reach the Semis

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brits Show True Grit to Reach the Semis

Article excerpt


ADOSE of on-court attitude quite at odds with the genteel image of badminton today carried Great Britain's Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson through to the semi-finals of the Olympic mixed doubles.

In a match made tense by stare-outs and aggressive body language, fourth seeds Emms and Robertson beat the sixth seeds from China, Qiqiu Chen and Tingting Zhao, in straight games 15-8, 17-15 to stand within one win of at least a bronze medal.

And two hours after their victory, there was even better news for the British pair when they learned that the No1 seeds, Dong Moon Kim and Kyung Min Ra from Korea, had been knocked out.

The Koreans suffered their first defeat in more than a year as they went down 17-14, 15-8 to the No7 seeds from Denmark, Jonas Rasmussen and Rikke Olsen, who Emms and Robertson will now face in Wednesday's semifinal.

In today's quarterfinal, Emms and Robertson gelled brilliantly especially in the second game when their rivals fought back from 13-8 down to get within one point of levelling the match.

It was Emms, the 27-year-old from Bedford, who saved game point when her disguised dink at the net left Chen and Zhao to argue among themselves as to who should have gone for the return.

It was Emms, too, who rallied Robertson when the 27-year-old from Nottingham let nerves get to his game.

Robertson responded magnificently to his partner's encouragement and led the fightback which climaxed when Chen netted an Emms serve on match point.

Robertson said: "At 13-8 we were holding them well and were in control.

"But then we fell into the trap of thinking ahead to the next round, which is the biggest mistake you can make.

"When they start coming back a little bit of nerves come into it.

"But we are both tough characters and we know when one or the other isn't playing to their potential.

"Gail was quite strong there towards the end when I was feeling the tension and it will be my job, when she goes through the bad patches, to do the same for her."

Robertson will mastermind the scare tactics in their semi-final and he admitted he enjoys imposing his presence on the opposition, saying: "There is a lot of attitude in badminton, especially in the men's game. …

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