The contest between Bengaluru Raptors and Pune 7 Aces went down to the wire and the husband-wife pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock had to dig deep to clinch the win for the Aces. Tied at 3-3 at the end of four matches, a lot was riding on them to deliver the goods for their side.
It wasn’t a good start for the duo as they were trailing 1-0 after the first game. The scenario changed from the second game, and they were much sharper in the rest of the match. “I think in the first game, Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won came out really, really solid. They really didn't make many mistakes. And I personally didn't come out very good. But in the second set, we really were solid and got some good combination playing and [that] carried us through to the win,” Chris told Sportstar at the end of the tie.
This is the fourth season of the Premier Badminton League for the Adcocks, who are now the World No. 12 mixed-doubles pair. They won gold medals in the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and finished third in the World Championships in 2017.
The star-studded line-up of teams and world-class training compel them to make their regular pilgrimage to India at the start of the year. “We feel it's a really good atmosphere. And I think the training that we get in the teams because there are lots of strong players, maybe that we don't get so much back home in England,” Gabrielle said.
“And also the match play for us is very, very good. Because again, there are not many mixed [doubles] players that we can play against. And even though they're not combinations, we still have to be on our game because it's very different. And they are two very good players put together, so we really enjoy it. It's a great event to be a part of,” she added.
‘ Hurts to lose’
The two have an eye on the elusive Olympic medal this year. Four years ago, they hoped to clinch a medal in Rio, but failed to reach the quarterfinals. According to Chris, “[We learnt] that it hurts to lose in the Olympics ( laughs ).”
“The experience obviously, playing the Olympics is very cool. But we went there to win a medal, and we didn't, so we were very disappointed with that. So it was very hard, but that's what motivates us.”
Chris and Gabrielle have been playing as a pair since the late 2000s. They married in 2013, and tour and play together.
Talking about the technical changes in the game over the years, Chris said, “There's definitely the top Chinese pair (Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong) who have really pushed the limit in speed. Thankfully, that's one of our strengths as well, so hopefully we will able to keep up.”
He added: “We've been around a long time. But we came into the sport at a high level really young as well. So we're a lot younger than some of the other players that are still playing. So we have definitely got a lot left in the tank, hopefully.”
Pune 7 Aces next plays Chennai Superstarz in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
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