Kirsty Gilmour remains on course to defend her Scottish Open Badminton Championship women’s singles title after overcoming Danish rival Mette Poulsen in the second round.
The Glasgow-based 25-year-old was given a tough examination in the second set by Poulsen before claiming a 21-6 21-18 victory in front of her home crowd at the Emirates Arena.
Gilmour’s win had set up a quarter-final clash against Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet, but she was handed a walkover after her Swiss opponent withdrew due to injury and is now just one game away from reaching the final.
“Mette is always a tough opponent and we go way back, we must have started playing each other when we were 12 or 13 in the European junior tournaments,” Gilmour said.
“It’s really nice when you open up with a good game like that and things that you want to do seem to link up and come together, so the first set was good and I was happy with how I played.
“I feel in good shape for the rest of the tournament and I don’t mind if I have tight games like that as it prepares you for later on if you get through them, it gives you a little shock to the system.”
Elsewhere, there were also victories for number one seed Cai Yanyan of China, who beat Julie Dawall Jakobsen 21-17 21-17, and Danish second seed Line Højmark Kjaersfeldt.
But while Gilmour is still in contention to retain her crown, there will be a new champion in the men’s singles this year after Toby Penty was knocked out 21-11 21-19 by France’s Thomas Rouxel.
The reigning champion was playing his first match of the tournament after having a bye and a walkover in his opening two rounds and he admitted he was gutted to bow out so early.
“It wasn’t a great performance, it took me a while to get used to what was going on in the first set as I had a bye and then had a walkover,” said the English number six seed.
“He played a solid match and I tried my best to get into it in the second set, but he never gave me a chance to get on top of him and to be fair to him he closed it quite well.
“There were some good patches but I just couldn’t keep it up for long enough periods and at the end of the second game it was anyone’s - I just didn’t play at the level I needed to get the win.
“I love playing in Scotland and have great memories from last year, so it’s a disappointing way to end the year but I’m excited for a rest and the chance to come out swinging next year.”
Penty’s exit was not the only shock in the third round as France’s Brice Leverdez, the top seed after Rasmus Gemke pulled out, was beaten by compatriot Lucas Claerbout.
Leverdez has fond memories of the Emirates Arena after pulling off shock victory over Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei at the World Badminton Championship last year.
A former champion, having gone all the way in 2013, Leverdez lost 15-21 21-12 21-16 and said the better man won as he struggled to comeback after falling behind in the third game.
“Lucas played really well, he fought more than me and he deserved the win,” he said. “I felt good going in and the first set was okay and I controlled the game.
“The second set I started feeling not as fresh as the first, which is normal, and he started playing better and better and then I couldn’t recover the situation.
“I didn’t feel any pressure. I wanted to play here as I have a good feeling in this hall and I got a better feeling than the last few months but he just played better than me.”
Meanwhile, Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith lived up to their billing as top seeds in the mixed doubles with a 21-15 21-15 victory over Danish pair Lasse Mølhede and Sara Lundgaard.
Scotland’s Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson were unable to follow up their first round win, though, as they lost 21-16 21-15 to German second seeds Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich.
“We were pretty disappointed that wasn’t anywhere near the kind of performance we were hoping to put in, we didn’t implement our game plan or do anything right,” Hall said.
MacPherson added: “I think we had a slow start in both of the sets and we fought our way back in both, but we gave them quite a lot of cheap points and they ran away with it in the end.”
In the women’s doubles, Lauren Middleton and Sarah Sidebottom were unable to continue their run as they lost their first ever second round match after coming through qualifying.
The Scots were beaten 21-8 21-13 by Swedish eighth seeds Emma Karlsson and Johanna Magnusson, while compatriots Eleanor O’Donnell and Ciara Torrance were also knocked out.
Alex Dunn and Adam Hall came close to causing an upset against Jacco Arends and Ruben Jille, the sixth seeds, but the Dutch pair eventually triumphed 21-12 19-21 21-14.
Top seeds Ellis and Chris Langridge were also pushed all the way before the English duo edged out their compatriots Callum Hemming and Tom Wolfenden 21-15 19-21 21-6.
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