September 17, 2022
Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore produced a strong run to the mixed doubles semi-finals of the YONEX Belgian International.
The pair defeated two Danish duos en route to the last four where they came up against a tough test in the form of Hiroki Midorikawa and Natsu Saito.
But they were unable to haul themselves into the final as they went down to a tough 25-23 21-10 defeat against the Japanese pair.
Elsewhere, Zach Russ and Rory Easton reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles as Lizzie Tolman partnered Scotland’s Eleanor O’Donnell in the women’s doubles.
After reaching the round of 32 at the World Championships, Moore and Mairs went even deeper in Leuven, opening up with a battling 23-21 21-14 defeat of Marcus Rindshoj and Natasja P Anthonisen.
Another Danish pair would await in the round of 16 in the form of Rasmus Espersen and Christine Busch, with Mairs and Moore requiring four game points to close out the first game 23-21.
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They emerged from the second game by the same scoreline but not before repelling four game points for the fourth seeds, going on to seal the game at the first time of asking.
Their quarter-final match-up against Po Li-Wei and Chang Ching Hui of Taiwan was a more straightforward affair, as Moore and Mairs came through 21-13 21-9, the second game seeing them win eight points on the spin to put the match out of sight.
It set up an encounter with the top seeds in the last four, with Midorikawa and Saito pushed all the way in the first game with each pairing having three attempts at game point before the Japanese duo took the game 25-23.
The marathon game had sapped Moore and Mairs’ energy as Midorikawa and Saito closed out the second game comfortably to advance 25-23 21-10.
As the third seeds, Russ and Easton enjoyed a bye in the first round of the men’s doubles before coming through a slog against Canadian pairing Dong Adam (Xingyu) and Nyl Yakura.
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Easton and Russ moved ahead in the first game 7-6 and never looked back emerging 21-14 winners but Dong and Yakura kept a late fightback in the second at bay to square the match, winning the game 21-19.
Normal service resumed in the decider as Russ and Easton won the final 10 points on the spin to sew up the game and the match 21-14.
They could not repeat their performance in the quarter-finals, succumbing to a 21-12 21-12 defeat to Sirawit Sothon and Natthapat Trinkajee.
In the women’s doubles, Tolman and O’Donnell could not find a way past Denmark’s Amalie Cecilie Kudsk and Signe Schulz in the first round, bowing out with a 21-18 21-16 defeat.