The top two seeds were upset on a thrilling opening day of the Yonex Scottish National Championships as Alex Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell set up a mixed doubles final clash with Martin Campbell and Julie MacPherson.
Patrick MacHugh and Kirsty Gilmour, favourites ahead of the event, made untroubled progress until the semi-finals, where they were beaten 22-20 21-18 by Campbell and MacPherson in an absorbing contest in Perth.
“I feel really good. We played them in the final last year and lost in two sets, so we knew it was going to be a tough match,” said MacPherson, just one of all players supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign at this weekend’s championships.
“We knew it was going to be a tiring match. It’s nice to get to another final.”
Campbell added: “I think we did well to keep the important points. In the second set, we were a bit up and they came back and played really well.
“But we managed to steady the ship and come through at the end when it mattered, and that was important for us.
“For right now, we’ll concentrate on our doubles and once the doubles is done, that’s when we’ll focus on the mixed.”
The other semi-final saw second seeds Adam Hall and Ciara Torrance almost take a one-game lead over Dunn and O’Donnell.
But the 3/4 seeds eventually took it 21-19 before going on to ease to victory with a 22-20 win in the second and final game.
“I’m a bit shaky still,” said Dunn. “It was a very tight game, it could’ve gone to three sets but thankfully, we won in two and I’m feeling really good and excited to be in my first mixed national final.
“We’ve timed it really nicely, so we’re looking forward to it.”
With O’Donnell adding: “I’m just really happy that we got that over in two.
“I think, if it had gone to three, the nerves would have kicked in again and we would have had to reset.
“It’s my first mixed national final, too.”
Earlier in the evening, Dunn and O’Donnell had dispatched Brock Matheson and Britt Ashton 21-12 21-10 in the first round before Steven Stewart and Rebekka Findlay, who had beaten Alistair Gordon and Heather MacPherson 21-16 21-1 in the first round, were no match in the quarter-finals, going down 21-8 21-16.
Campbell and MacPherson’s route to the semi-finals began with a routine 21-16 21-5 win over Danny Leinster and Basia Grodynska.
While in the quarter-finals, they made light work of Adam Pringle and Rachel Andrew, who beat Joshua Apiliga and Alice Campbell 21-19 21-14 in the first round, winning 21-10 21-9.
Top seeds MacHugh and Gilmour had made a strong start to their title bid with a 21-5 21-10 victory over Mark and Maria Leith in the first round.
And it was a similar story in the second round, beating Ciar and Caitlin Pringle, who earlier had scraped past Robbie Patterson and Lauren Middleton 21-13 18-21 21-17, with a 21-11 21-15 scoreline.
But they were not to make it any further, going down to Campbell and MacPherson in the final four – just like Hall and Torrance.
The second seeds began their day with a hard-fought 21-17 21-16 win over Ben Torrance and Sarah Findlay, before beating Lewis Gallacher and Sarah Sidebottom, who had beaten Jamie Gunn and Erin Waddell 21-15 21-12 in the first round, 21-14 21-16 in the quarter-finals.
Dunn and O’Donnell will face off against Martin and MacPherson for the national title on Sunday.