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Langridge defies adversity to battle through Yonex All England first round

2016 Olympic bronze medallists Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won a three game thriller against Di Zijian and Wang Chang on Wednesday

Chris Langridge may be aware of some flaws in his character - but he certainly knows how to navigate his way around a badminton court.

The Epsom-born player safely booked his place in the second round of the men’s doubles at the Yonex All England Championships alongside partner Marcus Ellis on Wednesday, edging past Chinese pair Di Zijian and Wang Chang in a three game thriller.

But the experienced 34-year-old has had it far from his own way in recent weeks, suffering from a variety of illnesses that at one stage threw his participation in the competition into doubt.

He overcame adversity with defiance, however, and says it was the idiosyncrasies in his character that helped him appear under the Arena Birmingham lights.

“It is crazy, to be totally honest with you, that there was a stage where I didn’t even know if I would play in the tournament,” he said.

“It shows what you can do when you’re a persistent, annoying, frustrating person! That’s what my wife says anyway.

“I’ve just been a bit unlucky with a few different illnesses, but thankfully I’m at the tail end of those now.

“It’s been nothing life-threatening but it just means I haven’t really trained fully for about five or six weeks.

“I’ve just been really unlucky, but that’s life - Marcus and I are both resilient people, and I’m an old dog who will just find a way to grind through!”

Langridge and Ellis - who won Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016 together - took the lead before their Chinese opponents restored parity, teeing up a nerve-jangler decider in front of a raucous Birmingham crowd.

And they finished the job with aplomb after a final game 21-16 victory, lining up a second round clash with fifth seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto on Thursday.

But Langridge has been in the sport long enough to know that it’s best to take things each day as they come.

“This tournament is massive for us - it’s not just a big tournament globally, but for us it’s massive because here in England it’s the only tournament,” he added.

“Also, after the obstacles we’ve overcome in the last month, I’m just really impressed with both of us.

“It’s been quite a tough 2020 and we haven’t really had things go our way, but we’re really pleased with how we’ve performed.

“Even if we don’t perform in the second round, the important thing was how we performed in the first round today.”

Witness Legends Begin at the 2020 Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at Arena Birmingham between March 11-15. Secure your tickets at https://www.allenglandbadminton.com/ today.