As the countdown to the YONEX All England Open continues some of England’s top doubles internationals were out in Germany this week for the 2022 YONEX Gainward German Open.
Results were mixed, but every team out in Mulheim got crucial court-time before heading to Birmingham next week.
Fifth seeds and former European champions Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith led the charge in the mixed doubles tournament.
They reached the quarter-finals after gruelling three set wins over Malaysian duo Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei in the first round, and also Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran from Thailand.
That set-up a last eight clash with former World Junior Championship winners Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari, on Friday afternoon.
Ellis and Smith produced a storming comeback after losing the opener, winning 16-21, 21-16, 21-19, to edge a thriller and book a spot in the final four.
Their brave run came to an end on Saturday when Ou Xuanyi and Huang Ya Qiong ended the English pairs hopes of lifting the title.
The Chinese pair, who have previously helped their country to Asian Mixed Team Championships gold, just had too much on the big points, edging a close semi-final 21-18, 21-19.
But Ellis and Smith will take confidence from an excellent run that has given them a good court time ahead with All England looming.
Elsewhere, Callum Hemming and Jessica Pugh pulled off a big first round performance to knock out the eighth seeds Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie from Malaysia, 14-21, 21-13, 21-12.
That set-up a battle of Britain against Scotland’s Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson in round two, the Scots edging a close match 21-17, 21-19.
Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore also progressed in the bracket after a dominant display in the final game saw them beat Indian duo Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto, 21-19, 20-22, 21-9.
Although they were handed a tough reward, a tie with top-ten ranked former Commonwealth Games gold medallists Lai Pei Jing and Tan Kian Meng, the English pair can be proud of their performance.
After losing the opener, they roared back to take the second game 21-10 and were only narrowly beaten in a tight decider, the final score reading 21-16, 10-21, 21-18 in favour of the Malaysians.
In the men’s doubles, Hemming teamed up with Steven Stallwood ahead of their bid for a run in Birmingham next week.
The duo exited at the first round stage after a 21-15, 21-16 defeat to Indian pair Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek.
But it was better news for Sean Vendy and Ben Lane.
They came through against Scotland’s Alex Dunn and Adam Hall in another all-UK clash, winning 21-16, 21-19.
In the second round they were up against talented Malaysian duo Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
Vendy and Lane’s opponents, seeded sixth, proved too strong on this occasion, although the English team did manage to make it go the distance, losing 21-15, 14-21, 21-17.