England No.1 Rajiv Ouseph will face shock finalist Sam Parsons in the bid for a seventh consecutive English Badminton National Championships men’s singles victory after surviving a scare in Milton Keynes.
Ouseph, who had only lost two games in the tournament since 2008, battled back from facing two match points to oust unseeded part-timer Ben Beckman 18-21 23-21 21-11 in their semi-final.
But after coming through the test unscathed, Ouseph admitted he had to dig deep.
“In the first two games I didn’t play very well but Ben started quickly,” said 27-year-old Ouseph, who will be looking to equal former doubles star Simon Archer’s seven national titles on Sunday.
“At match point down I knew I just had to play each point but it’s the closest anyone has been to beating me at the Nationals.”
There was similar drama in the other semi-final as No.4 seed Parsons edged a gripping third game 24-22 in dispatching England No.3 Toby Penty.
Elsewhere, former Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms’ reappearance at the Nationals ended in two spirited quarter-final defeats with partners Marcus Ellis and Ella Tripp.
Emms and Ellis bowed out in a tightly-fought match with reigning champions Chris and Gabby Adcock (21-19 21-19), before she again lost to Adcock and partner Lauren Smith in the women’s doubles.
Sarah Walker will have the opportunity to defend her crown on Sunday after emerging victorious against No.3 seed Panuga Riou (19-21 21-16 21-15)
She will face Elizabeth Cann – who pulled out of the quarter-finals a year ago due to a back injury – after the four-time champion saw off Nicola Cerfontyne (21-12 21-15).
In the mixed doubles reigning champions the Adcocks will take their place in Sunday’s final after a 21-11 21-8 win against Peter Mills and former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jenny Wallwork.
The World No.5s will line up against No.2 seeds Christopher Langridge and Heather Olver.
And Olver reached her second final in the women’s doubles, defeating Suzanne Rayappan and Wallwork (21-15 21-17) with Kate Robertshaw and booking a Sunday date with an equally busy Adcock and Smith.
Chris Adcock and Langridge will also appear twice on Sunday – squaring off against each other with respective partners Andy Ellis and Mills in the men’s doubles final.
© Sportsbeat 2014