Badminton: England bring mixed title back home

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND became certain of their first title for nine years at the Yonex All-England Championships when they provided both finalists in the mixed doubles at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham yesterday, writes James Leigh. The partnerships of Nick Ponting and Joanne Wright, and Chris Hunt and Gill Clark, neither of which had been seeded to reach the semi-finals, came through to play each other today.

Ponting and Wright won a thriller, 15-9, 15-17, 15-12, against Jon Holst-Christensen, the Dane who had been top seed with Sweden's world mixed doubles champion, Catrine Bengtsson, but whose scratch partnership with Rosiana Tendean gave the English chances to play on the Indonesian woman's weaknesses. However, they needed nine match points to do it and it appeared they might have missed their chance when they let slip the lead to 14-12 and 10-7 in the third.

Earlier, Clark and Hunt scored a courageous comeback victory against the Swedes, Par-Gunnar Jonsson and Maria Bengtsson, by 4-15 15-10 15-6. The English pair let slip a lead of 6-1 in the final game, but Clark then set up some heavy attacks from Hunt, and Clark was soon celebrating her third All England final.

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