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Semi-finals at the double for Joshua

Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds reached the semi-finals in Lithuania. Photo: Badminton Europe

RAPHOE’S Joshua Magee lived up to his fourth seeding at the Yonex Lithuanian International by reaching the last four and sealing a bronze medal in both the singles and the men’s doubles, playing alongside Paul Reynolds in the latter event.

The Raphoe man opened his campaign in Kaunas with a hard-fought 21-14, 21-23, 21-18 victory over England’s David Jones, before facing another difficult clash with Belgium’s Julien Carraggi in the next round, winning 24-22, 22-20.

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After ousting Carraggi, Josh faced another Belgian in the form of Elias Bracke in the last eight, where he claimed another straight sets victory, 23-21, 21-13 before falling narrowly to top seed, Sweden’s Felix Burestedt 20-22, 21-13, 21-15 at the semi-final stage.

Having been involved in four testing encounters, Josh, while disappointed not to reach the final, was satisfied with his overall performance in the singles.

“I’m pleased, but at the same time a little disappointed because I was so close to winning the match [semi-final]. It would have been nice to go a bit further,” he observed.

“But I had a lot of good wins and that’s what I’m most happy with. Every match was tough.”
In the men’s doubles, Josh and Paul enjoyed an equally successful run, ousting Polish pair, Konrad Ploch and Dominik Zietek 21-11, 17-21, 21-10 in the opening round.

They then earned a confidence boosting win over Danish duo Rasmus Espersen and Sebastian Gronbjerg 21-18, 21-15 to set up a semi-finals clash with Russia’s Egor Kurdyukov and Egor Okolov.

That match proved one step too far for the Irish men, though, as they exited following a tight three-setter, 20-22, 21-13, 21-15.

“I thought we could have played better against the Russians and after winning the first game I thought we could have gone on and won it, but we’ve only played three tournaments together, so we’re still learning and we’ll take the semi-final as a lesson,” Joshua explained.

The Donegal man had very little down time after his return from Lithuania on Sunday evening as he headed off to Spain to take part in the Iberdrola Spanish International in Madrid where he continued his good form by winning his opening round match this morning.

He defeated Bulgaria’s Daniel Nikolov 21-18, 19-21, 21-16 in epic encounter not to dis-similar to those he experienced in Lithuania last week.

Joshua returns to the court at 1.50pm this afternoon (Friday) alongside Reynolds in the opening round of the men’s doubles.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s niece, Rachael Darragh, fell 21-9, 21-11 to second seed, Alesia Zaitsava of Belarus in the opening round of the women’s singles in Lithuania last week.

However, playing alongside Reynolds in the mixed doubles, the fifth seeds eased past American duo Pedro Arturo Garcia-Flores and Jacqueline Wendy Myers 21-6, 21-3 in a little over 20 mintes. In the next round, against Ukranian’s Artem Tkachuk and Anna Mikhalkova, the Irish pair suffered a narrow 23-21, 20-22, 21-19 reverse to exit the tournament.

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