Gail forces Chinese second seeds out of the Olympics

PUBLISHED: 19:05 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:13 26 October 2009

Gail Emms

Gail Emms

ATHENS 2004 silver medallist Gail Emms helped cause an upset in the Olympic badminton competition. Herts county player Emms and Nathan Robertson produced an outstanding performance to knock China s number two seeds Gao Ling and Zheng Bo out of the Games a

ATHENS 2004 silver medallist Gail Emms helped cause an upset in the Olympic badminton competition.

Herts county player Emms and Nathan Robertson produced an outstanding performance to knock China's number two seeds Gao Ling and Zheng Bo out of the Games and book a place in Thursday's mixed doubles quarter-finals.

Emms and Robertson were unseeded for the Olympics, but predicted the pressure was all on the Chinese pair after landing them in the draw.

And they came up trumps, beating the Chinese double act 21-16, 16-21, 21-19.

The British duo were 12-6 down in the deciding game, but later won seven points in a row en route to reaching the quarter-finals.

Hitchin-born Emms, 31, said: "This is the Olympic Games and we just wanted to win for our country.

"We came out really fast in the first game and I think we took them by surprise.

"We didn't do anything wrong in the second game. We kept our heads up and kept positive," she added.

"In sport the momentum can change and I enjoyed every moment."

Doubles partner Robertson said he didn't think the pair would have won the match if he hadn't had ankle surgery earlier this year.

"The surgery definitely played a part in our favour," he said.

"We wouldn't have won that third game without it.

"They were very nervous tonight. I thought they were feeling the pressure," he added.

"I was so determined in the third game. This could be our last tournament and I just didn't want it to end.

"To come back against the Chinese like that is unusual.

"It's normally so difficult against the Chinese to get a run of points like that."

He added: "We love playing, we love winning, we hate losing.

"When you get the emotions of the Olympic Games going on, it's something special and you really can't describe it."

The British pair stormed to a 15-9 lead in the opening game and that advantage never looked in danger as they took the game 21-16.

Emms, who was coached at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield in her younger days, and Robertson were 11-7 up in the second game.

But the Chinese players battled back to go 13-12 ahead and then extended their lead to 14-19.

Herts ace Emms and Robertson took the next two rallies to reduce the deficit to three points.

However, Gao and Zheng won the next two to close out the game and level the match.

The deciding game was always going to be close - and it was at 2-2 and 5-5.

But the Chinese then won four successive rallies to go 9-5 up, and then another three to pull 12-6 in front.

Former world champions Emms and Robertson reduced the deficit to three by winning the next three points, but the Chinese extended their lead again to 17-12.

The British pairing dug deep to win seven points in a row to nudge ahead again for only the third time in the game at 19-17.

Gao, one half of the Chinese mixed doubles pairing that won gold at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Games, and Zheng levelled the scores at 19-all.

But the British pair held their nerve, winning two points on Robertson's serve to score a memorable win and book a place in quarter-finals.

They will now face Koreans Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae in their next match on Thursday.

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