Imogen guaranteed a bronze after thriller at Europeans

MILNGAVIE’S Imogen Bankier and England’s Chris Adcock won another titanic duel with GB rivals Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork to assure themselves at least a bronze medal at the European Championships in the Swedish city of Karlskrona.

The pair, who won the silver medal at the Yonex Badmington World Federation World Championships at Wembley last August, beat the 2010 European bronze medallists but they did it the hard way, coming from behind to win 18-21 21-19 22-20 after a 66-minute nail-biter.

It was another nervy contest in this third match between the two pairs in the Olympic qualifying race with the England pair having won in three games in Malaysia and the Anglo-Scottish pair coming through at the Swiss Open last month.

Imogen and Chris, who remained at number 10 in the latest world rankings, lost the opening game as Nathan and Jenny started better but they levelled the contest by taking a close second game and looked to be easing to victory with a 10-3 lead in the third game. However their opponents, who are at No. 20 in the rankings, battled their way back to lead for the first time in the decider at 18-17 and then stood at match point at 20-19.

But just as in their most recent meeting last month in Switzerland, when the Anglo-Scottish pair saved three match points before winning the decider 25-23, Imogen and Chris held their nerve, to save match point and level at 20-20 to then take the next two points to snatch victory.

Imogen said: “It was hard for both of us. We have never experienced these expectations and pressures before. Our opposition were extremely tough and we have had a fantastic rivalry.”

In the semi-finals Imogen and Chris will face the Polish seventh seeds Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba.