Ireland's Magee brothers overjoyed with medal chance

Baku, June 26, AZERTAC

Brothers Sam and Josh Magee of Ireland were overjoyed after coming through a battle in three sets against Belgians Matijs Dierickx and Freek Golinski on Thursday to reach the men's Badminton doubles semis after setting the quarter-finals as their initial target.

"I'm lost for words," Sam Magee said at Baku Sports Hall. "We played scrappy Badminton to start with. We stole the first set (23-21).

"This time last year we started playing together and if you had seen us then, you would have fancied your chances."

Josh said: "The aim was to get out of the group, and now we're fighting for a medal."

To have a chance of silver or gold, the Magees will have to beat European champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov after the second-seeded Russians overpowered Croatia's two Zvonimirs, Durkinjak and Hoelbling.

"We have a lot of experience against Asian pairs who have strength and jumping power, it's no surprise for us," said Sozonov of Josh Magee's jumping ability.

"We saw them today, we know the tactics we will use, and I think we will win."

Tournament favourites Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark set up a semi-final with third-seeded Germans Raphael Beck and Andreas Heinz.

In the women's doubles, the top two seeded pairs have not dropped a set and will hope to continue that record up to Saturday's final.

Bulgarian sisters Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva, the world no.14s, will face Turks Ozge Bayrak and Neslihan Yigit in Friday's semis. Yigit overcame her shock exit in the singles earlier in the day as she and Bayrak defeated French pair Lorraine Baumann and Audrey Fontaine.

The winners of that tie will face off for gold against the victors of what should be an intriguing encounter between Danes Lena Grebak and Maria Helsbol, and Russian second seeds Ekaterina Bolotova and Evgeniya Kosetskaya.

The doubles semi-finals begin at 18:00 on Friday.

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