Badminton: English Championships start in Norwich

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The Independent Online
DARREN HALL'S attempt to extend his record of national men's singles titles to seven took him to the quarter-finals in less than an hour yesterday when he beat Hampshire's Chris Shepperd and Kent's Richard Doling in successive games for the loss of only 15 points, writes James Leigh.

The top-seeded former European champion had been practising earlier in the week with the Essex-based Olympic bronze medallist from Denmark, Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen and it became quickly apparent that Hall's appetite for success at the English championships remains as voracious as ever.

Shepherd lasted 26 minutes and got eight points, Doling lasted two minutes longer. Today Hall meets Colin Haughton whose quarter-final place only looked in danger when the umpire moved the chair and inadvertently caught him on the head.

Anders Nielsen, who lost his title to Hall when he was struck down with cramp in last year's final, also reached the quarter-finals without difficulty. The 1992 champion is only one win from a likely rematch with the No 3 seed, Peter Knowles, with whom he had a long semi-final last year.

The other top-seeded title holder, Suzanne Louis-Lane, also reached the quarter-finals, winning 11-1, 11-2 against Tracey Hallam.

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