Scots off to winning start in Finland


Scotland’s three players competing at the Finnish Open got off to a winning start today in Vantaa but they were taken to three games before booking their places in the second round.

Meanwhile, in Mulhouse Scotland went down to a narrow 3-2 defeat to 5/6 seeds Spain in their opening Group Six contest at the European Junior Championships.

In Finland Matthew Carder, the 2016 Yonex Scottish National champion and this year’s runner-up, was taken the distance by Chinese Taipei’s Shi Kuei Chun before winning a 52-minute battle 21-17 8-21 21-18 after trailing 16-13 in the decider.

That earned Carder a second-round clash tonight against Russian fifth seed Vladimir Malkov in what will be their first meeting.

Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh, the 2015 and 2017 National men’s doubles champions, followed Carder’s
lead by reaching the second round with a hard-fought win over Finland’s Oskari Larkimo and Tuomas Nuorteva with the second seeds coming out on top 21-13 19-21 21-10 after dominating the deciding game.

That earned them a clash tonight with Italy’s Giovanni Greco and Rosario Maddaloni in a first meeting between the pairs.

The Scots are on course to meet Taipei fourth seeds Li-Wei Po and Ming-Tse Yang in the semi-finals. Denmark’s Rasmus Fladberg and Frederik Colberg are top seeds.

In France, Scotland were edged out 3-2 by Spain in their opening group match at the European Juniors

Scotland’s two wins came in the doubles with Christopher and Matthew Grimley defeating Pablo Alfayate and Amaya Bernat 21-10 21-10 and Alex Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell winning the final mixed 21-13 21-12 against Alex Alcala Dominguez and Sara Penalver Pereira 21-13 21-12.

But those two wins came after Spain had taken a 3-0 winning lead by claiming both singles contests and the girls’ doubles.

Holly Newall lost to Clare Azurmendi 21-16 21-9 and Dunn lost to Alvaro Vazquez 21-16 9-21 21-19 after holding an 18-14 lead in the decider. Spain clinched a winning lead when Azurmendi and Perreira defeated O’Donnell and Ciara Torrance 21-14 21-19.

Coach Robert Blair said: “It was a tight match. We knew they had two strong girls and unfortunately Alex let a lead in the third game slip and that proved to be decisive.

“But at 3-2 we still have a chance to progress if we can get a win against the Netherlands tonight.”

Tomorrow Scotland face Bulgaria and Portugal in their other two group contests with the group winners progressing to the knockout quarter-final stage along with the best two runners-up.

For results from Finland and France go to www.tournamentsoftware.com

To watch a live stream of tonight's match against The Netherlands, click here

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