All England Badminton Championships: Marcus Ellis & Lauren Smith reach semi-finals

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter at the Arena Birmingham
Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis won Commonwealth silver in 2018

England's Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith reached the semi-finals of the All England Open with a brilliant comeback victory over Hong Kong duo Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.

The English pair lost the opening game 26-24 before facing match point in the second, but fought back to take it 22-20 and then won the decider 21-11.

"It's incredible and something you dream of," Smith told BBC Sport.

The result should effectively secure them a place at Tokyo 2020.

The Commonwealth silver medallists aim to become Britain's first gold medallists at the event since Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms in 2005.

This year's event is taking place despite a host of competitions around the world being cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Badminton England have taken a number of steps to minimise the risks to anyone attending the event which began on Wednesday and runs through to Sunday.

Some of the measures taken include the availability of hand sanitiser around the Arena Birmingham, with an isolation zone also established should anyone fall unwell while on site.

A number of spectators and journalists have also worn masks while some athletes have chosen to spend less time talking to the media than they usually would at an event.

"It's a huge event for us and the sport so for it to go ahead was really important," said Smith.

Ellis will return to action later on Friday and join fellow Olympic bronze medal winning team-mate Chris Langridge in the men's doubles quarter-finals.

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