OLYMPIC silver medallist Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork romped into the quarter-finals of the Yonex European Badminton Championships to bring England some much-needed cheer in Manchester.
The mixed doubles third seeds cruised past Johannes Schoettler and Sandra Marinello of Germany 21-9, 21-12 and will now play Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeria Sorokina of Russia.
Robertson’s victory will be all the more sweet considering he and Anthony Clark were forced to pull out of the men’s doubles due to the latter’s calf injury.
That injury also ensured Clark, the defending mixed doubles champion, having claimed victory with Donna Kellogg last time out, and Olver were forced out of competition.
But Robertson and Wallwork are just one win away from ensuring at least a bronze medal – something achieved by Robertson in 2004 with Gail Emms.
However, there was disappointment for England’s Chris Adcock and Gabby White as the seventh seeds crashed 13-21, 22-20, 21-16 to Wouter Claes and Nathalie Descamps of Belgium
And in the singles, England’s injury jinx struck again, this time for Andrew Smith who was forced to retire at 13-5 down against Germany’s third seed Marc Zweibler, succumbing to shin splints in his right leg.
But eighth seed Carl Baxter did overcome Czech number one Jan Vondra 21-14, 21-16 to earn a quarter-final against Peter Gade.
The four-time champion from Denmark survived a real scare against Estonia’s Raul Must before winning 21-15, 19-21, 21-18.
England’s other singles hope, fourth seed Rajiv Ouseph overcame a shaky start to beat Finland’s Ville Lang 20-22, 21-12, 21-11 and now faces Ireland’s Scott Evans.
In the women’s singles four-time English National champion Elizabeth Cann was outsted by fifth seed Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria 21-13, 21-13 while Helen Davies put up a gritty display before falling to Russian sixth seed Ella Diehl 17-21, 21-16, 21-11.
Denmark’s Yonex All England champion Tine Rasmussen outplayed Linda Zuchiri 21-15, 21-18 and that set up a quarter-final with Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff after the Commonwealth bronze medallist defeated Telma Santos of Portugal 21-12, 21-8.
In the men’s doubles Adcock and Robert Blair now lead the home challenge in the absence of Robertson and Clark and they began their medal bid by beating Dutchmen Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder 21-16, 21-10.
And in the women’s doubles Olver and Mariana Agathangelou won their opening match 21-17, 21-10 against Tatajana Bibik and Olga Golvanova to join Wallwork and White in the second round.