KIRSTY GILMOUR turned in another determined display to reach the final of the women’s singles at the European Championships for the second year in a row.
The 2016 silver medallist defeated Switzerland’s sixth seed Sabrina Jaquet 22-20 21-10 in 40 minutes to book a rematch with double European title-holder and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, the Spanish star who will be bidding to make it a hat-trick of World titles when she comes to Glasgow 2017 in August.
Seventh seed Gilmour secured her final place after a topsy-turvy first game with her Rio Olympics opponent Jaquet. But it is a great achievement considering she had a lengthy lay-off after the Olympics following knee surgery.
Gilmour trailed for much of the opener but from 12-9 down she surged into a 15-13 lead only for Jaquet to respond with five successive points to lead 18-15 and then19-16.
Back came Gilmour with a four-point burst to set up game point at 20-19. Jaquet saved the first but Gilmour did not let it slip when she got a second chance.
A more determined Gilmour then took charge to open up an early lead in the second game as she moved from 2-2 to 6-2. and then steadily built her advantage, helped by a decisive six-point charge from 14-8 to match point before taking the contest at the third opportunity.
Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, Marin was made to work by Danish fourth seed Mette Poulsen before winning 21-17 21-12 after coming back from 15-11 in the opening game.
Now it is Gilmour against Marin in tomorrow’s final. Marin may have won last year’s final and holds a 5-1 head-to-head lead but Gilmour has beaten her, winning the 2014 Spanish Open final.
Gilmour said of today’s win: “Yet another player I know very well. We all follow each other on social medias so I knew she would come out strong today – and she did. She definitely came out more solid than ever.
“I had the momentum and felt more and more confident from winning the first set and as the second progressed but I never lost focus. I know that no match is over until the final point is decided – not even at a 10-point lead.
“I am not really surprised over my level at this time. Four months after my operation I played my first tournament at the Scottish Nationals and have been on my steady way back ever since.
“I am very grateful to the physios at BADMINTONscotland and have followed every single point of their schedule.”
“As for tomorrow’s final she said: “Marin obviously will be tough but I have a plan and will watch some videos of her matches as final preparation.”
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: “I am delighted for Kirsty. She deserves to reach the final as she has worked so hard to get back to her best following her knee surgery. She now has a great opportunity to test herself against one of the best players on the world circuit.”