Scottish Open Grand Prix Men's Singles Preview

Home favourite and highest seeded Scot Kieran Merrilees will be expected to give the Glasgow crowd something to shout about when the Scottish Open Grand Prix gets underway next week.


The 27-year-old 11th seed has been placed in the top half of the draw, with players such as the Netherlands’ Mark Caljouw, Germany’s Fabian Roth and Denmark’s Emil Holst all potentially standing in his way en route to the final.


Merrilees opens up against India’s Karan Rajan Rajarajan, a man ranked 22 places below him in the world, with Caljouw the first seeded player he could face, in the quarter-finals.


The Scot beat Rajarajan in straight games the last time they met, in the first round of last month’s YONEX Dutch Open.


And should Merrilees find his way to the semi-finals, he could be up against third seed Holst.


The Dane, ranked 33rd in the world, begins his campaign against Lars Schaenzler and will hope to avoid an upset against the German ranked more than 150 places below him.


His first seeded opponent could well be Estonia’s Raul Must, with the ninth seed opening up against England’s Ross Green and having to make it to the quarter-finals before possibly encountering Holst.


Must got his 2017 off to a fine start with victory over England’s Toby Penty in the final of the YONEX Estonian International, before making the Austrian Open semi-finals.


He made the round of 16 at the European Championships but was eliminated in the first round of the TOTAL BWF World Championships and, most recently, exiting the YONEX French Open in qualifying.


Holst, however, reached the round of 16 at the recent Bitburger Open, having made the YONEX Dutch Open quarter-finals and missing out to Lin Dan at the last 32 stage of the World Championships.


Another danger man in the top half of the draw will be Roth, with the 21-year-old having beaten current world champion Viktor Axelsen back in February at the European Mixed Team Championships.


He exited the YONEX All England Open at the qualifying stage to a clearly in-form Brice Leverdez – the man who went on to shock Lee Chong Wei in the main draw – but has since reached the Orleans International semi-final and European Championships quarter-final.


And although he has yet to win a match at each of his last four tournaments, he will be expected to beat the Netherlands’ Nick Fransman in the first round – a man ranked 77 places below him in the world.


The bottom half of the draw also poses danger men, with the biggest of them all being second seed Ygor Coelho of Brazil.


The 20-year-old faces Scot Matthew Carder in the first round and world number 36 Coelho will be hopeful of silencing the home crowd from the offset.


He comes into the event on the back of a quarter-final appearance at the Bitburger Open, having also made the last 32 at the Victor Korea Open Superseries event – where he was beaten by Holst.


Unfortunately, first seed Rajiv Ouseph has had to withdraw from the competition.