Merrilees and Gilmour top seeds at Yonex Scottish Nationals

Kieran Merrilees and Kirsty Gilmour will begin their defences of the Yonex Scottish National Badminton Championships singles events as tournament favourites after the seedings were confirmed today.

The competition will take place at Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth, from February 2-4, with the 2017 champions from all five disciplines back to defend their titles.

That includes Scottish No.1 Gilmour, who enjoyed a productive year in 2017 by becoming European silver medallist for the second time as well as the Scottish Open Grand Prix champion.

A World Championships quarter-finalist on the home Glasgow courts, the 24-year-old has also enjoyed a bounty of success in the Nationals and this year she is bidding to win the women’s singles competition for the seventh successive year.

If all goes according to seeding, Gilmour will face up and coming star Rachel Sugden in the final – who will be aiming to improve on last year’s result when she reached the semi-finals.

There is also a top-seed status for Merrilees in men’s singles, who is looking to back up his impressive Nationals form having won the competition for five of the past seven seasons.

Matthew Carder, the only other man to have won the singles title in the past four years, once again heads to Perth as second seed having lost out last year to Merrilees in the final.

Glasgow’s Christopher Grimley, who recently won his first domestic senior singles title in Dunfermline, and Paisley’s Ben Torrance share the joint 3/4 seed spots.

Meanwhile, defending men’s doubles champions Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh will have to go against the seedings if they want to retain their title.

That’s because they go into the tournament as second favourites with Alex Dunn and Adam Hall receiving top seed status, though both pairs have enjoyed success over the past year.

That included Irish Open and Turkey International honours just last month for Dunn and Hall, and a run to the final of last week’s Swedish Open for Campbell and MacHugh.

The men’s doubles wasn’t the only national title that came MacHugh’s way last year, as he also teamed up with Gilmour to lift the mixed doubles trophy in Perth, despite being unseeded.

They pair up once again this year looking to repeat the trick but this time as top seeds, with Hall and Ciara Torrance just behind them in the standings.

Campbell and Julie MacPherson, and Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell are the joint 3/4 seeds, with the former pair looking to reach the final for the third year in a row.

From rivals in the mixed to teammates in the women’s, MacPherson and O’Donnell will pair up in the competition as favourites for the women’s doubles.

The pair caused a surprise when, as second seeds last year, they overcame Rebekka Findlay and Caitlin Pringle in the final. As second seeds this year, Findlay and Pringle will be hoping to return the favour this time around.

Tickets for the Yonex Scottish Nationals are on sale now from Badminton Scotland or are available at the Bell’s Sports Centre over the three tournament days of February 2, 3 and 4.

The Yonex Scottish National Championships are staged at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth courtesy of Perth and Kinross Council. Badminton Scotland are also indebted to Yonex UK, Live Active Leisure, Perth Common Good Fund, the management and staff at Bell’s Sports Centre, and Badminton Scotland Court Officials and volunteers.

Draws will be online at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk by Wednesday 31 January.

The full seeds are:

Men’s Singles (Holder : Kieran Merrilees, Glasgow)
1.   Kieran Merrilees (Glasgow)
2.   Matthew Carder (South Queensferry)
3/4.  Christopher Grimley (Glasgow); Ben Torrance (Paisley)

Women’s Singles (Holder : Kirsty Gilmour, Glasgow)
1.   Kirsty Gilmour (Glasgow)
2.   Rachel Sugden (Alexandria)

Men’s Doubles (Holders : Martin Campbell, Edinburgh/Patrick MacHugh, Kinross)
1.   Alex Dunn (Motherwell)/Adam Hall (Mauchline)
2.   Martin Campbell (Edinburgh)/Patrick MacHugh (Kinross)

Women’s Doubles (Holders : Julie MacPherson, Edinburgh/Eleanor O’Donnell, Beith)
1.   Julie MacPherson (Edinburgh)/Eleanor O’Donnell (Beith)
2.   Rebekka Findlay (Erskine)/Caitlin Pringle (Giffnock)

Mixed Doubles (Holders : Patrick MacHugh, Kinross/Kirsty Gilmour, Glasgow)
1. Patrick MacHugh (Kinross)/Kirsty Gilmour (Glasgow)
2. Adam Hall (Mauchline)/Ciara Torrance (Paisley)
3/4.  Martin Campbell (Edinburgh)/Julie MacPherson (Edinburgh); Alex Dunn (Motherwell)/Eleanor O’Donnell (Beith)