Qualifying proved no obstacle for Lauren Middleton and Sarah Sidebottom as they sealed their place in the women’s doubles main draw at the Scottish Open Badminton Championships.
The Scottish duo came from behind in their opening match to beat the all-English partnership of Grace King and Ella Soderstrom 16-21 21-11 21-19 on day one at the Emirates Arena.
The duo, who are competing at their third Scottish Open, returned just over an hour later to see off another English pair, Emma Hooper and Natalia Mitchell, 21-7 21-11 to reach the main draw.
“The past few years there’s not been a qualification for the women’s doubles, so we just got into the main draw straight away but we wanted to still make the main draw,” said Sidebottom.
“I think our first main draw game is a winnable one if we play well, so we definitely want to kick on and do our best in that game. We’re just taking it one game at a time.
“Every match we play we’re getting more used to the drift and our second game there was a lot less errors compared to the first one, so hopefully it will be better again in the first round.”
Brittany Ashton and Basia Grodynska had a straight shootout with America’s Breanna Chi and Angela Zhang to reach the main draw, but fell just short as they lost 21-14 20-22 21-16.
Meanwhile, Christopher Grimley claimed victory in his first match back on home soil following his quarter-final run with brother Matthew at the World Junior Championships last week.
The 18-year-old comfortably came through his first qualifier in the men’s singles 21-3 21-4 against England’s Hugo Jardim, before being beaten 21-7 21-15 by China’s Weng Hongyang.
But despite missing out on the main draw in the singles, Grimley is looking forward to joining up with his brother again for their first round match against Richard Eidestedt and Peter Kaesbauer.
“I was a bit disappointed with the loss but my opponent was a lot better and I was just struggling with my length, he was attacking and has a really good attack,” he said.
“I’m just looking forward to the doubles now. We just came back from the World Juniors and we had a good few wins there, so I feel we’re in good form now.”
Ciar Pringle was another Scot who narrowly missed out on the main draw in the men’s singles, losing a close match against Joel König, of Switzerland, 21-18 21-17.
“It was a good game in terms of the rallies were good and my shots were good, I think it’s just getting used to the conditions in the hall as it’s quite fast,” he said.
“I’m a fast player and my play is fast so I was struggling a little bit, especially at some of the crucial points of the game, to keep it in. I’m a bit disappointed now but I thought I played pretty well.”
Pringle’s doubles partner Jack MacGregor took plenty of positives despite also falling at the first hurdle in the singles, where he was beaten 21-3 21-8 by Austria’s Wolfgang Gnedt.
“I had a tough singles match against a good opponent and I struggled to get used to the conditions, but it was the first time I’ve played properly at a high level event,” he said.
“This is the home tournament and I wanted to put in a big performance which I feel like I did. We have the men’s doubles against Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, which will be exciting.
“I’m hoping we can put in another good performance, get the rallies going, and you never know. We’ll be able to see where we’re at against the best of the best.”
MacGregor was also in action in the mixed doubles, where his new partnership with Singapore’s Ong Ren-Ne was edged out by Peter Briggs and Hannah Pohl, 21-16 17-21 21-10.
There were also mixed doubles defeats for Matthew Grimley and Ciara Torrance, who lost to Joel Eipe and Mette Poulson of Denmark, and Grodynska and England’s Martin Drabble.
In the women’s singles, Holly Newall was involved in an epic three-game match against England’s Abigail Holden, who eventually prevailed 18-21 21-18 21-18 after almost an hour.
The 20-year-old defeated England’s Ella Soderstrom in her opening qualifying match and while she was disappointed to miss out on the main draw, she was happy with her performance.
“I’m pleased with the way I performed because that’s probably the best I’ve played in a month or two so overall I’m happy as I’m not really feeling match fit," she said.
“I’ve been unwell over past couple of weeks and missed two weeks of training and I think that’s what made me struggle in my legs. I was getting tired towards the end and had nothing left.”
Elsewhere, Toni Woods lost her women’s singles qualifier to India’s Tanvi Lad 21-15 21-10, while there was also plenty of Scottish involvement in the qualifying for the men’s doubles.
Calum Flockhart and Callum Smith were beaten by England’s Alex Marritt and Nathan Rossiter 21-16 21-17, with Matthew Carder and Danny Leinster also falling to the English pairing of Robert Golding and Brandon Zhi Hao Yap.
Michael McGuire and Danny Robson put up a good fight against Dominic Ashton and Timothy Hull before going down 21-19 21-19, while Joshua Apiliga and Adam Pringle also lost their qualifier.
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The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
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