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Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour thrilled the home crowd as she powered into the quarter-finals of the World Badminton Championships in Glasgow.
After the Scot dominated the opening game against He Bingjiao, China’s sixth seed then levelled to force the match into a decider.
Gilmour, seeded 16th, rediscovered her best form though to claim a 21-14 15-21 21-16 win.
“After everything I’ve been though, I’m speechless,” she told BBC Sport.
“Within the last year I’ve torn cartilage in my knee, gone through all of the rehabilitation and had a new coach so for it all to come together makes all of the hard work totally worthwhile.”
London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal of India – who claimed silver at the last World Championships in 2015 – awaits Gilmour in the next round.
English Commonwealth mixed-doubles champions Chris and Gabby Adcock also reached the quarter-final stages with a comfortable 21-15 21-16 victory over Japan’s Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara.
The English pair were rarely troubled, but say they can play “much better” in Friday’s quarter-finals as they chase the victory – against Hong Kong duo Tse Ying Suet and Tang Chun Man – which would secure them a first-ever world medal together.
“Overall we’re happy to get through what could have been a potential banana-skin, but we need to be more solid tomorrow,” Chris Adcock told BBC Sport.
“The next match will be really tough which is expected for a medal match and we’ll fight to be at our best,” added Gabby Adcock.
However English pair Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis suffered a “devastating” defeat in the last 16 to South Korea’s Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dunkyoung.
After a slow start, in which they lost the opening game 21-16, the Rio Olympic bronze medallists looked to have put themselves back into contention by taking the second game 21-18.
It was however the South Korean’s who prevailed – 21-15 – leaving the English duo to lament a “frustrating performance”.
“I’m so gutted and devastated as I don’t think we should have lost to them today,” Langridge told BBC Sport.
Ellis who has struggled with a long-term shoulder injury heading into the event, added: “We could have had better preparation, but that wasn’t to blame today – we just didn’t perform well enough.”
England’s European men’s singles champion Rajiv Ouseph produced some of the best play of his career and took the opening game against two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan.
However, the 33-year-old Chinese player – looking to claim a sixth world title this week – eventually found his range and progressed to the quarter-finals.
“I think I played for a set and a half the best I ever have, but I couldn’t sustain it and he took advantage of it,” Ouseph said.
“We’ve tried to put the difficulties in the sport behind us at the moment and I think I’m playing the best I’ve ever played and hopefully I can take that into next year.”
Badminton was stripped of all UK Sport funding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle and knows the only chance of restoring support is by winning medals at major events like the World Championships.
Victory for quarter-finalists on Friday will guarantee them at least bronze by virtue of reaching the semi-finals.
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