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Chris and Gabby Adcock missed out on becoming Britain’s first All England Badminton Championship finalists for a decade with an agonising defeat by China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong.
They held match point in the third set of their mixed doubles semi-final, but Chris Adcock suffered a broken string and they eventually lost it 22-20.
The Adcocks had taken the opening set 21-19, but lost the second 21-12.
“It’s so tough to have been so close,” Gabby Adcock told BBC Sport.
“We were quite a way down in the third set and fought back up to get the match point and then for that to happen to Chris is really, really unlucky.”
The Commonwealth champions – who also reached last year’s semi-finals – were bidding to become the first British finalists in the event since Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg in 2007.
Their defeat comes just weeks after British Badminton failed to overturn UK Sport’s Olympic funding cut.
Badminton England’s chief executive Adrian Christy said on Thursday that the loss of around £1.25m per year in financial support would mean players and staff would now have to leave the programme.
“As you can imagine the atmosphere has been a bit flat at our training centre with the situation and it’s a sad time for badminton,” said Gabby Adcock.
Badminton England hopes to raise around £600,000 per year in order to help provide some funding support to the Adcocks and Olympic bronze medal-winning pair Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis.
“It’s been a tough patch, but we’ve shown how resilient we can be on and off the court,” Chris Adcock told BBC Sport.
“We really believe we’ve still got the ability to win majors as well as world and Olympic medals so we’ll fight through and no doubt we’ll be able to prove a lot of people wrong.”