Doubles specialist Anthony Clark started day two of the All England Open berating his defeat with partner Nathan Robertson in the men’s event but, along with partner Heather Olver, ended it by becoming the first English pair through to the quarter-finals in Birmingham.
Such is the strength of this 100th Badminton Championships, experience is telling here but the English pair, playing only their second major tournament, tore up the doubles manual to record a superb 21-18, 22-10 win in 33 minutes over Chinese Taipei’s Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien.
Clark said: "To get to the quarter-finals of the All England, our home championships, is an amazing feeling. Not many people can claim to achieve that. I have beaten every player here so there is no reason why we can’t progress.
"Heather is still young and we haven’t been playing together long, but already we are playing great badminton."
After denting British hopes in the men’s doubles with an insipid second round defeat with Robertson, Clark was clearly a man on a mission as he closed the match on his knees. He almost willed the National Indoor Arena sideways, too, such was his knee-dropping, clench-fisting joy.
"I always try to lift them onto my side," Clark said afterwards, referring to the slightly-reserved British crowd.
Clark and Olver, a Bath University graduate and looking the ideal replacement after Donna Kellogg’s retirement in December, looked sharp and focused as they controlled the 14-minute opening game.
They then led 14-9 in the second but the experienced Taipei duo, who replaced Denmark’s Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen in the main draw, kept plugging away and moved to game point.
Clark, though, kept his cool and finished expertly down the middle to level at 20-20 before he repeated the feat to take the match.
On Friday, the English pair will play Korean pair Lee Yong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung, the current Olympic mixed champions, for a place in the semi-finals.