November

Gilmour retains her Scottish Open crown

Kirsty Gilmour lifted herself off the floor to successfully defend her Scottish Open Badminton Championships title in a dramatic final against Line Højmark Kjaersfeldt.

The 25-year-old hometown favourite surrendered five championship points before eventually prevailing against the Danish second seed 21-16 18-21 21-18 in Glasgow.

She appeared in total control after taking the opening game, but she took a nasty looking fall in the second as Kjaersfeldt fought back to ensure the match went the distance.

Gilmour regained her composure though and surged ahead once again in the third and despite another resurgence from the Dane, she eventually got over the line at the Emirates Arena.

“I feel a massive mixture of happiness, relief, emotional, all sorts of things are happening now and I’ll deconstruct it and reflect a bit later on - I’m a bit of a mess right now,” she said.

“It’s quite embarrassing crying on the podium but I think it shows how much this means for me and I kind of didn’t expect this to happen this week, I was just taking it minute by minute.

“I don’t mind going to three sets, it’s nothing new for me and I’m so aware that I’m capable of winning them and that was just what was going through my head.

“I have that confidence in myself in the third sets that I’m fit enough to get through them. I did some pretty heavy dives out there and it’s not big and it’s not clever.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures and my leg is going to be killer tomorrow, I’ve landed on it a couple of times so I’m going to strap some ice on it - a couple of days and it will be fine.”

The first final of the day at the Emirates Arena saw China’s unseeded Liu Haichao overcome his fellow countryman to claim the men’s singles title in a high octane battle.

Haichao, who came through qualifying to reach Sunday’s showpiece, was relentless as he took the opening game in clinical fashion and went on to record a 21-17 22-20 triumph.

“I feel both of us played really well and in the middle of games he made it really difficult, but I got through it,” he said. “This win is really important to me.

“It confirms that I have been training really well over the last couple of months and until recently I hadn’t played many tournaments and then this opportunity came along.”

Meanwhile, the mixed doubles final was unfortunately brought to an abrupt end when Jacco Arends was forced to withdraw midway through the first game with an injury.

The retirement of Dutch pair Arends and Selena Piek, the third seeds, handed victory to English top seeds Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, who were already 13-6 ahead at the time.

And while Ellis and Smith admitted they would have preferred to win the title on the court, they were both delighted with the way they played throughout the week in Glasgow.

“It is genuinely a horrible way to win,” Ellis said. “I know we’ve come away with the title, but you want to win by being the best player or pair on the court.

“I think we were demonstrating that from the beginning, but it’s horrible to see anyone go out like that and we can only hope that it’s not as serious as it looked.”

Smith added: “We’ve closed out all the games in two sets and we’ve been really efficient. We’ve actually controlled all the matches, we’ve rarely been behind in a set.

“We’re really happy with that as that’s something a few months ago we weren’t doing, we weren’t being consistent with our level and imposing ourselves.”

Elsewhere, the women’s doubles saw a re-run of this year’s European Championships final as gold medallists Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva came up against runners-up Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran.

And despite Gabriela suffering with a leg injury, it made no difference to the result as the Bulgarian top seeds claimed a 21-16 21-9 victory against the French third seeds.

“We feel very happy with the win and the whole week,” said Stefani. “I’m really proud of my sister that she didn’t retire and she continued even though she had pain.”

In the men’s doubles final, Ellis returned to the court following his earlier triumph in the mixed doubles to team up with Chris Langridge as he sealed his second title of the week.

The Commonwealth Games champions and top seeds showed no mercy as they emerged with a 23-21 21-16 victory against Denmark’s David Daugaard and Frederik Søgaard.

“It is a bit of a relief,” said Ellis. “I don’t think we played our best so that’s the initial feeling we feel at the end of the match, obviously we’re very happy to win.

Langridge added: “They were quite awkward to be fair and they played slightly differently to how I thought. I think they played quite well and they made it difficult for us.”

Full results are at www.tournamentsoftware.com

The Scottish Open Badminton Championships has been staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

For more information contact Peter Dean on 0141 445 1218 or email peter@badmintonscotland.org.uk