February

Gilmour caps comeback with Austrian triumph

KIRSTY GILMOUR completed her comeback from injury in the best possible way by winning the Austrian Open women's singles title in Vienna.

The 23-year-old Commonwealth Games and European silver medallist followed up her morning 21-12 21-18 semi-final win over Japan’s Rira Kawashima by defeating Germany’s Fabienne Deprez 21-17 21-9.

Sixth seed Gilmour trailed 9-5 and 13-9 in the opener but drew level at 14-14 and went on to take the first game.

It was a different story in the second game as she quickly took charge from 4-4 and produced a seven-point winning surge from 14-9 to clinch victory in style after 31 minutes.

That win, watched by Scotland’s new head coach Tat Meng Wong, gave the 23-year-old from Bothwell her first major title since October 2015 when she beat Deprez on the way to the Dutch Open crown.

Gilmour said of her first title since that Dutch win: "I came close at the Malaysia Masters where I was runner-up but I think this is my first win. And undefeated in 2017!

“It feels really great to be back on top of that podium. This tournament went exactly to plan and I've managed to achieve some of the smaller goals that I set myself from the outset, too.

“Working with Tat Meng is great so far. He's quite relaxed and calm behind the court. It will be interesting to see how we go forward in training from here.”

This week’s tournament was her first international event since the Rio Olympics and came just three weeks after winning her sixth Yonex Scottish National Championships women’s singles title in her first outing following knee surgery.

She dropped just one game on the way to the Vienna victory and that was in a tight quarter-final contest with Japanese top seed Yui Hashimoto.

This week’s performances were watched closely by Tat Meng and he was delighted with what he saw.

He said: “ I'm happy with her performance since she had been out of the international scene for the last five months.

“Winning this title means she is on the right track back to where she was before and I believe she will be capable of being a great challenger at the top-level of the women’s singles world stage.

“Beating top seed Yui Hashimoto in the quarter-finals was really tough but it was a good game that brought her confidence level up for the next round.  She performed better each round she played.

“There is still a lot of detailing work for me to work with her yet. We must continue to build her up and her injury management will be one of the important tasks, too.

“The past few weeks of training in Glasgow have gone smoothly.  She can train as normal, even increase the training intensity as we assess her. I'm delighted that she is coping well without problems.

“Upcoming the major events for her will be mainly on preparing for the European Championship, Sudirman Cup and the World Championship in August.”

For all the results go to www.tournamentsoftware.com