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Resilient Evans prevails on memorable day for Ireland at European Championships

Chloe Magee and Sam Magee were victors in the mixed doubles while Rachael Darragh won her first-round clash in the women’s singles.

IRELAND HAVE made a memorable start to the 2017 European Badminton Championships with three wins from three matches on the opening day of the tournament in Denmark.

Donegal siblings Sam and Chloe Magee got the tournament off to an excellent start from an Irish perspective with a 21-17, 23-21 victory against fifth-seeded Dutch pair Jacco Arends and Selena Piek in the mixed doubles.

Rachael Darragh, also from Raphoe in Donegal, then once again highlighted her huge potential when the 18-year-old claimed a straight-sets 23-21, 22-20 victory against Flore Vandenhoucke of Belgium in the women’s singles.

Rio Olympics star Scott Evans then completed a perfect opening day for Ireland in the men’s singles, showing great resilience — having lost the first game and at one stage trailing 11-1 in the second — to defeat Croatia’s Zvonimir Durkinjak 13-21, 21-17, 21-17 in Kolding, a city in the south of Denmark.

It was an impressive response from the Dubliner who rose to fame in Brazil after becoming the first Irish player to win a badminton match at an Olympics, and for the boisterous celebrations that followed.

Durkinjak is currently ranked 86th in the world, 25 spots ahead of Evans, who has been living in Copenhagen since the age of 16.

The Croat will be in action against Irish players again tomorrow when brothers Joshua and Sam Magee begin their men’s doubles campaign against Durkinjak and his compatriot Zvonimir Hoelbling.

Darragh has another busy day ahead of her tomorrow with a second-round singles match against Luise Heim of Germany and a women’s doubles clash alongside Sara Boyle in the afternoon against Finnish duo Jenny Nystrom and Sonja Pekkola.

Evans will be up against it in his second-round singles clash tomorrow evening as he goes toe to toe with fifth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark.

The world number 25 has been soaring through the rankings over the past two years and and with still 20th birthday just two days away, Evans, 29, a three-time Olympian, will be hoping to make all his experience count on Court 1.

Next up for Sam and Chloe Magee is a showdown with French pair Bastian Kersaudy and Lea Palermo and a victory there would see them reach the quarter-finals for the second successive year.

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