YORKSHIRE badminton star Gabby Adcock’s dreams of winning a YONEX All England Open title must wait for another year after she exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage.
Gabby and mixed doubles partner Chris Adcock have made the semi-finals in the previous two years at the Birmingham tournament but couldn’t make that three on Friday – losing out to Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.
The European mixed doubles champions were beaten 18-21 21-15 21-15, ending an impressive run in Birmingham that has seen the Adcocks beat two top-ten ranked pairs despite Gabby’s recent return from a serious ankle injury.
“I think the pair we played are very, very quick and I need to be up to pace with that pair,” said the Leeds-born shuttler.
“I am surprised that I managed to get to a quarter-final in my first tournament, I would’ve bit your hand off if you’d offered me it a week ago.
“Obviously I wasn’t sure I was going to play but I’m an athlete and I always come here to win and one day it’s a dream of ours to pick that trophy up at home.
“Realistically with the preparation we have had we need to sit down and have a bit of perspective, not analyse it and beat ourselves up too much.”
Gabby, 27, injured her ankle in January and was playing in her first tournament since then, with only one week’s worth of training behind her.
Cheered on by a packed-out Friday night crowd at Arena Birmingham, the Adcocks settled into the match well and looked the more composed against a pairing who’d beaten them two years ago.
Watanabe and Higashino dominated the second game with a pacy style that belies their world ranking of 48.
“Their strength is speed,” said Chris. “It’s one of our main strengths as well, it was always going to be a fast-paced game but we just had too many moments where we lapsed in concentration.
“With the preparation we had I’m amazingly proud that Gabs even got on court this week.
“You wouldn’t have believed where we were two weeks ago, so to be coming out here Friday night we would’ve bit your hand off.
“We hate losing, it’s tough to take but a bit of perspective is good.”
The Adcocks have been named in a ten-strong English team to compete at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast next month and will now prepare for a second huge event in as many months.
Chris and Gabby are the reigning Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champions after their success in Glasgow four years ago and Gabby conceded that despite defeat in Birmingham, it does provide ideal build-up.
“It’s definitely been good preparation for us to come out and have such amazing match practice before the Commonwealths,” she added.
“I’ve got a few more weeks now to have a bit of training under my belt and I’m sure we’ll be ready for that 110 per cent.”
The world’s best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England (14-18 March). For tickets, TV schedule results, & reaction: allenglandbadminton.com