Milton Keynes’ Sean Vendy was left rueing fine margins after falling to a first-round defeat at the YONEX All England Open in Birmingham.
Vendy and partner Ben Lane were in action at one of badminton’s most prestigious events, facing fifth seeds Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi – who they had played and lost to twice already in 2023.
The English duo looked set for a straight-games defeat down 21-18 16-10, but rallied superbly to force a decider – the first time they have taken a game off the Chinese this year.
Vendy and Lane are known for their fighting spirit, but the 26-year-old bemoaned a slow start to the deciding game which contributed to their 21-18 17-21 21-16 loss.
He said: “We’re actually pretty good when playing from behind, just digging in and trying to find some fight in us. We’re training really hard and we were in really good shape coming in.
“We’re obviously gutted, it was a really tough draw but I’m sure there are a lot of positives to take. It’s a bit raw now.
“We started off a bit passive [in the third game]. We were just letting them come onto us a little too much. We started hitting a little slower.
“We might have just given them a little too much lead and again we caught back a little bit, but it was probably a bit too hard at that point.”
Lane added: “I thought we played some good badminton out there but we were just a bit too patchy. We played some very good badminton at the end of the second to get us back into the game because we knew we were a set and 16-11 down.
“It’s always a bit gutting when you train hard for a big event and lose, but it’s definitely coming. We feel like we’re playing well and training well.”
It was a return to the Second City for Vendy and Lane after competing at the Commonwealth Games last summer, where he and Vendy battled their way to a silver medal.
And with the All England taking pride and place in the city every March, there is no place in the world the pair love playing in more.
Lane commented: “It’s always amazing playing in England.
“The crowds are amazing in Birmingham, it was the same in the Commonwealth Games last summer and same every time we come here.
“A big thanks to the crowd and everyone who supports us, not just today but throughout the whole year.”
Tickets for the 2023 YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships are on sale now. Click here to find out more.