Lack of crowd hampers Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis in semi-final exit at All England championship
"I've personally underperformed this week, which is disappointing because it's a real opportunity to do something good on home soil." Lauren Smith was not happy with her performance alongside Marcus Ellis at the Utilita Arena Birmingham, and they fell to defeat to Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino
Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis, YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships at Utilita Arena Birmingham, March 20, 2021
"I'd hold my hands up and say I haven't been as sharp as I'd like to be this week," said the 29-year-old. "Maybe it's the empty arena, I've been struggling with that the entire time.
In that first set, having a bit of atmosphere might have helped lift us a little bit, but I can't make excuses, it's the same or them as it is for us.
"I've personally underperformed this week, which is disappointing because it's a real opportunity to do something good on home soil."
The frenetic pace suited the Japanese duo, but the English world No.9 pairing landed their fair share of punches in the second game.
They held them to 17-16 but unforced errors in the latter stages saw Watanabe and Higashino progress, making it a clean sweep of Japanese pairs in the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles finals.
Smith, whose hopes in the women’s doubles ended at the quarter-final stage alongside Chloe Birch, regretted a nightmare start that saw them slip into an 8-0 deficit in the first.
"We started really poorly and we weren't up to speed at all in the first set," she said.
Whether that was the change of level, a bit of focus, I'm not entirely sure. But it took us a set to settle in to better tactics and get our legs up to speed and play the quality we needed to.
"It was disappointing, because in that second set we stressed them, even though we were never actually ahead.
"You could see in their body language that they were finding it hard and they were worried. If we could have done that earlier and stepped up and shown a bit more, they wouldn't have played quite so freely."