February

Upsets continue at the Yonex Scottish National Championships

It was not a day for the second seeds in Perth as both the women’s singles and doubles second favourites exited the Yonex Scottish National Championships earlier than scheduled.
 
Holly Newall and Ciara Torrance dispatched Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle in the women’s doubles, while Lauren Middleton dealt with Rachel Sugden in the singles.
 
But, unlike on Friday, the top seeds in each competition successfully negotiated their way to the semi-finals and will take a shot at the national title.
 
Women’s singles
Middleton may have made the headlines in the women’s singles, taking out Sugden 21-15 21-19 in the quarter-finals having fought to get past Basia Grodynska 20-22 21-14 21-11 in her opener.
 
But it was serene progress for defending champion Kirsty Gilmour as she enjoyed an untroubled day.
 
The top seed received a bye in the first round before dispatching Sarah Sidebottom – who had earlier beaten Alice Campbell – for the loss of just nine points in total.
 
She set up a Sunday semi-final against Rachel Cameron, who had herself enjoyed a first-round bye before beating Britt Ashton 21-13 21-15.
 
And Gilmour – chasing a seventh straight singles title – insists she in not focussing on breaking Anne Robertson’s record of nine.
 
“I’m a little bit conscious [of breaking records in terms of national titles]. Personally I’ve not looked at all the names on the trophy and seen how many times one person has won and wanted to do better,” said the two-time European silver medallist.
 
“I just enjoy turning up to nationals every year and seeing what the younger ones are managing to produce.
 
“It gives me another opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.
 
“Records are always in the back of your mind but they’re not the be all and end all of playing nationals.”
 
Lauren Middleton will play Julie MacPherson in Sunday’s other semi-final after her opponent came past Erin Waddell 21-7 21-5 before beating Jennifer Lafferty 21-6 21-7.
 
Women’s doubles
Newall and Torrance set up a Sunday semi-final against Rachel Andrew and Rachel Cameron thanks to their 21-16 6-21 21-17 upset of second seeds Findlay and Pringle.
 
The unseeded pair came into the tournament unsure of their level following Newall’s absence from the court in recent weeks.
 
But, barring a second-game blip, were deserved winners against the second seeds.
 
“I didn’t really know what to expect because Hollie’s not been playing competitively at all. So it was just a case of trying to get into the match and then the result took care of itself,” said Torrance.
 
“The second set just went away from us but then the third set we just decided to give it our all and we’re really happy with getting through.”
 
Andrew and Cameron won their quarter-final 21-10 21-14 over Emma Cook and Viktoria Tsvetanova to set up a place in the final four.
 
While top seeds MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell – who won in Iceland last week – won their opener 21-18 21-15 over Middleton and Sidebottom to set up a semi-final against Basia Grodynska and Rachel Sugden – who won a three-game match against Sarah Findlay and Kaity Hall 21-14 16-21 21-19.
 
“I think the win last week gave us a boost coming into this,” said MacPherson.
 
“We were playing quite well in the lead up to Iceland. We played in Spain and we got to the semi-finals of that.
 
“And we’ve got to a few semi-finals in the international series, but that was our first final so that was a bonus for us.
 
“Hopefully we can continue that form on Sunday.”
 
Men’s doubles
It was a case of seeds prevailing in the men’s doubles on Saturday as both seeded pairings progressed to Sunday’s semi-finals.
 
Defending champions Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh lived up to their second-seeded billing with a win over the brothers Grimley in their quarter-final.
 
A bye meant they came into the match fresh and despatched the young pairing – who enjoyed junior success in Sweden last week – with a 21-11 21-14 scoreline.
 
And MacHugh was relieved to get through the match unscathed.
 
“For a first match you couldn’t really get much harder. We know Matt and Chris are dangerous just from training with them,” he said.
 
“If we took our foot off the gas at all we knew they’d be right in. So it was definitely a tricky opener for us and one that we probably didn’t want to see straight away.
 
“However, we managed to play well and keep on top of them and come out on top.”
 
The second seeds will play Danny Leinster and Steven Stewart in the semi-finals, after they overcame Ciar Pringle and Gordon Thompson 21-17 15-21 21-17 in a thriller – having already beaten Joshua Apiliga and Adam Pringle 17-21 21-12 22-20 in their first-round match.
 
The other semi-final sees top seeds Alex Dunn and Adam Hall – winners in Iceland last week, face Matthew Carder and Ben Torrance following a 21-9 21-6 win over Calum Flockhart and Callum Smith.
 
Carder and Torrance made their way to the final four with a 21-12 22-20 win over Robert Dunn and Robbie Patterson, followed by a 21-18 21-14 victory against Lewis Gallacher and Lloyd Holland.
 
Men’s singles
Kieran Merrilees is on course for a sixth national title in eight years after two straight forward victories on Saturday.
 
Following a first-round bye, the number one seed beat Apiliga 21-18 21-12 before seeing off Holland 21-8 21-7 to set up a semi-final against Christopher Grimley.
 
Last week’s Swedish Junior champion, Grimley beat Brandon Tsang 21-13 21-11 before edging past Ciar Pringle 16-21 21-18 21-12 and then Gallacher 21-12 20-22 21-10.
 
The other semi-final sees second seed Matthew Carder – the only man other than Merrilees to lift the title in the last seven years, complete routine 22-20 21-9 and 21-10 21-13 victories over Craig Goddard and Pringle, respectively.
 
He faces Ben Torrance, after the 3/4 seed was given a walkover in the first round and went on to beat Jordan Philip 21-9 21-4, before conquering Danny Leinster 21-12 21-11.​