Friday, February 13, 2009

Team England beat Ukraine to reach semi-finals

TEAM ENGLAND are through to the semi-finals of the European Team Championships in Echo Arena, Liverpool.

Ian Wright's squad overcame the Ukraine 3-1 to earn a repeat semi-final with Poland, the team they beat 3-0 last year in Herning (Denmark).

The English pairing of Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork got the hosts off to a great start in the mixed doubles with a 21-9 21-14 win over Valeriy Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus.

World No. 21 Andrew Smith made it 2-0 with victory over Dmytro Zavadskyy 17-21 21-15 21-18 in 52 minutes.

Ukraine's only point of the match came as Larisa Griga beat a brave Elizabeth Cann. World No 22 Griga, who is 12 places above Cann in the world rankings, won 21-15 21-19 in an entertaining match.

However, any thoughts of a Ukrainian revival were put to bed as Chris Adcock and Robert Blair secured the third and decisive point for Team England after their 21-14 21-12 victory against the Ukrainian pair Valery Atrashchenkov and Vladislav Druzchenko in the men's doubles.

Victorious Blair, winning his 49th cap, was pleased with his team's performance and sees no reason why they can't progress to the final. He said: "We worked hard and came through tonight. I think we will be too strong for Poland tomorrow but they have some good male players."

The England team for the semi-final is:

Mixed doubles: Anthony Clark & Donna Kellogg, Men's singles: Andrew Smith, Women's singles: Elizabeth Cann, Men's doubles: Anthony Clark & Nathan Robertson, Women's doubles: Donna Kellogg & Jenny Wallwork.

In the other quarter-finals tonight fourth seeds Poland recorded a 3-1 victory over fifth seeds Netherlands and holders and 12-times winners Denmark were too strong for seventh seeds France, emerging 3-1 winners.

It was left to Russia to spring the one surprise, the sixth seeds coming from behind to defeat third seeds Germany 3-2.