RAVENSHEAD badminton star Chris Adcock and partner Imogen Bankier got their New Year campaign off to a flying start in Seoul today when they defeated world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in the first round of the mixed doubles at the Victor Korea Open.
Adcock and Scotland’s Bankier, who are No.16 in the world, won 21-19 21-16 after turning a 13-3 second-game deficit into the 14-13 lead.
The Chinese pair, who defeated Adcock and Bankier in the final of the Yonex BWF World Championships at Wembley in August, edged back in front at 16-15 before Adcock and Bankier reeled off six points in a row to take victory in 39 minutes.
The victory, their first in four meetings with Zhang and Zhao, will give Adcock and Bankier a big boost in their bid for Olympic qualification but in tomorrow’s second round they must face another Chinese pair, He Hanbin and Bao Yixin.
The Olympic mixed doubles race heats up even more as there was further frustration for Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork, who won the first game of their first-round clash with Maneepong Jongjit and Savitree Amitapai before the Thai world No.21s hit back to take the next two games 21-17 21-12 and repeat their Li Ning China Open win over the world No.23s.
Adcock and Bankier continue to grow their Olympic qualification points in their bid for the coveted mixed doubles place at Wembley Arena this summer.
To follow the results check out www.tournamentsoftware.com.