Tokyo Olympics: Huddersfield’s Marcus Ellis happy to take on bigger badminton challenges that now lie ahead

MARCUS Ellis is relishing the challenges that lie ahead after he and Lauren Smith safely booked their passage into the Olympic mixed doubles quarter-finals with a match to spare.

WATCH THIS: Marcus Ellis improvises as he and Lauren Smith compete against Canada's Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Josephine Wu at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. Picture: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The British pair triumphed 21-13, 21-19 over Canadian rivals Josephine Wu and Joshua Hurlburt-Yu to earn their second victory in as many days.

The result ensures they will be in the last eight no matter what happens in today’s final group game against Thai third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

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Huddersfield shuttler Ellis and his partner on and off the court Smith needed just 15 minutes to wrap up the opening game yesterday and though they were pushed harder in the second, their determination shone through and the winning point was greeted with a roar by Ellis.

Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith compete against Canada's Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Josephine Wu on day two at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. Picture: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

“We’ve never played them before,” he said. “Of course we were expected to win, we expected ourselves to win but it’s very rare that you play against a pair in these big tournaments that you haven’t played before.

“They play in a way that maybe we’ve not played against before so there is definitely something to take away from the match, something to learn from.

“We have a bigger challenge tomorrow so, hopefully, we can raise our game right up there.”

The No 8 ranked pair overcame Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue on Saturday and Ellis is similarly excited for what lies in store in Tokyo, with the quarter-finals taking place on Wednesday following today’s match.

“We’re very happy that we’re through the box,” he said.

“Of course, we came here in the top eight on the list and we wanted to get through our group.

“In a way, we’ve kind of reached our seeding now so whatever happens from here is a bonus. Hopefully we can take some pressure off of ourselves and relish the opportunity to play against the top four or five pairs in the world.”

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