It was a sensational start that Chloe Birch could only have dreamed of ... and the perfect ending in more ways than one.
Sheffield’s 15-year-old badminton starlet faced the toughest of first round matches on her debut in the English Senior National Championships in Manchester against top seed and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Liz Cann.
Cann had been backed to win a fifth national title but instead she was stunned by Chloe who saved two match points during a remarkable 21-18, 13-21, 24-22 victory.
The Silverdale pupil refusal to be overawed, either by the occasion, the reputation of her opponent, or the angst of letting slip a 17-11 lead in the final game.
She said: “I’ve never had a win like that. It was good that I felt relaxed.
“I just wanted to play well. It was when I was 11-5 up in the third game that I thought I could win.
“I’d got a lot of points and she started getting nervous.
“When it came to saving the match points I still thought I could win because I had been able to get such a good lead. I just tried to keep the shuttle in.”
Cann, who has suffered a number of injuries since the Commonwealth Games, was generous in defeat. “Chloe seemed quite unaffected by it all and all credit to her.
“She’s got some good shots and she’s strong for her age. She’s definitely got potential.”
Chloe’s giantkilling continued as she then beat Hannah Littlecott 21-16, 21-12 to book a place in the quarter-finals but this was where her glory run ended. She was defeated by sixth seed Sarah Milne, although the match came just 15 minutes after Chloe had finished a very tough doubles clash.
Fittingly there was a final celebratory twist to her day-of-days when she received the Player of the Tournament award.