April

Challenging European draws for Gilmour, Dunn and Hall

Fresh from the Gold Coast Kirsty Gilmour would have hoped for a kinder draw as she goes in search of a first European Championships gold medal in Huelva, Spain.

Twice a runner-up in the last two years, Gilmour begins her quest for gold on Wednesday with last year’s bronze medallist Mette Poulsen as a potential opponent.

The 24-year-old Scot picked up a bronze medal at the recent Commonwealth Games, losing to eventual champion Saina Nehwal in the semi-finals before beating Canada’s Michelle Li in the podium play-off.

In Spain, Gilmour is the second seed and has received a bye in the first round but faces a clash against either Norway’s Elisa Wiborg or Denmark’s Poulsen in the second.

Beaten 21-17 21-12 by eventual champion Carolina Marin in the 2017 semi-final, Poulsen won bronze in front of a home crowd.

She also has two European Women’s Team Championships gold medals to her name from 2016 and 2014, and was the Scottish Open champion in 2016, so will pose a stern test for Gilmour should she beat Wiborg.

The 23-year-old Norwegian is ranked 307 in the world and has endured a tough 2018, failing to win a main draw singles match in each of her four international tournament appearances this year.

Should Gilmour make it to the quarter-finals she is seeded to face another Dane, sixth seed Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt, while a semi-final could bring a clash against Russian fourth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya.

The biggest test of all would come in the final though, with Carolina Marin – her conqueror in each of the last two European finals – once again ranked as the top seed.

Marin will also enjoy home crowd advantage with the tournament being played in Huelva, Spain, with Scotland’s only other representatives in the competition being men’s doubles pair Alex Dunn and Adam Hall.

Unseeded but a dangerous pair, the Iceland International champions from earlier in 2018 will play Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling, of the Netherlands, in the first round.

Should they beat the Dutchmen it will set up an Anglo-Scottish encounter with Ben Lane and Sean Vendy being the fortunate beneficiaries of top seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen withdrawing.

That gives the English pairing a walkover into the second round and a potential meeting with Dunn and Hall, with second seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding now the highest seeded pair left in the competition.

Go to www.laola1.tv/badmintoneurope for live streaming

Results and draws are at www.tournamentsoftware.com