November

Merrilees eager for Emirates Arena return on day one of the Scottish Open Grand Prix

On the eve of the Scottish Open Grand Prix Kieran Merrilees is grateful for one thing above all others — his home comforts.

The men’s singles 11th seed will face India’s Karan Rajan Rajarajan in the first round on Wednesday evening.

After coming up against five-time world champion Lin Dan in his last Emirates Arena outing, at the TOTAL BWF World Championships, Rajarajan is a much easier prospect.

But above all, Glasgow-born Merrilees is simply glad to be able to play so close home.

“It’s always an event in the calendar that the Scottish players look forward to, you’re out to perform in front of a home crowd,” he said.

“We get to prepare in a different way to how you would normally for tournaments, usually we’re stuck in a hotel and we’re tired from travelling.

“It’s nice to have that advantage, we haven’t had to travel, we can sleep in our own beds and eat the food we want.

“We can be quite relaxed, it’s important not to get too hyped up, let the nerves affect you and overthink it.

“I’ve been playing well quite recently so hopefully I can cause some upsets this week.”

Teenage stars Matthew and Christopher Grimley, who are in the men’s doubles main draw, will hope to build on their recent success at the Czech Junior as they look to make it out of the single qualifiers, with play beginning at 9am on Wednesday.

The women’s doubles is a particularly exciting prospect after a late redraw threw the competition open.

Following withdrawals in the bottom half of the draw, there will be no qualifying for the event and the seedings have been changed.

Russian pair Anastasia Chervyakova and Olga Morozova remain firm favourites as top seeds, but France’s Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran could now face them in the final as they have been promoted to second.

Kirsty Gilmour headlines the women’s singles, hoping to finally claim gold after finishing as runner-up twice in Glasgow.

After she enjoyed a stellar run to the World Championship quarter-finals in August, the 24-year-old has every chance of becoming the first Scottish female champion since Susan Egelstaff in 2009.

Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh will be flying the flag for Scotland in the men’s doubles, but it will be a tough task to topple Rio bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge.

Compatriots Jack MacGregor and Ciar Pringle are now the highest ranked pair in qualifying after the top two seeds were promoted, meaning the Scots may well make it to the first round.

And the first round of the mixed doubles will be an all-Scottish affair too as a reshuffle means Ciara Torrance and Adam Hall will take on Campbell and Julie Macpherson on Thursday.

The Scottish Open Grand Prix is being staged at the Emirates Arena by BADMINTONscotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Tickets are on sale at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk or at the Emirates Arena box office.