December

MacPherson and O'Donnell reach Italian quarter-finals

Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell ensured Scotland’s day at the YONEX Italian International ended with a smile after reaching the women’s doubles quarter-finals.

The pair had to wait the entire day to get on court but made the most of it to secure a thrilling victory, overcoming Emilie Furbo and Trine Villadsen in three games in Milan.

They had to do it the hard way too, losing the opener 21-19 after receiving a walkover in their first-round match earlier in the day.

But despite the setback, the Scottish duo roared back into contention against their Danish counterparts, levelling the game up with a 21-16 second game that had been nip and tuck until the closing stages.

With all to play for in the decider, there were understandable nerves as MacPherson and O’Donnell edged themselves 17-16 ahead.

But from there the two put their feet on the accelerator, reeling off four successive points to take their places in Saturday’s quarter-finals.

It wasn’t to be for O’Donnell and mixed doubles partner Alexander Dunn however, as they lost out to Russian fifth seeds Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova.

The two struggled to get their footing in the early stages, losing the opening game 21-9.

But they fought back thereon, taking six straight points in the second game before eventually losing out 21-16 to end their competition.

They had enjoyed some success earlier in the day however, coming from behind to beat Saurabh Sharma and Anouskha Parikh in a decider.

Dunn was also in action in the men’s doubles, though he and Adam Hall weren’t quite able to get over the line against Richard Eidestedt and Carl Harrbacka from Sweden.

That was despite both games being frantically close as both finished 21-19 21-19, with the first game in particular a close-run thing with the Scots just missing out on the rub of the green.

There was also defeat for Kieran Merrilees, taking the lead against Kai Schaefer before losing out 18-21 21-12 21-11 in a game lasting almost an hour.

Results at www.tournamentsoftware.com