Posted on 14th February 2023
By RJ Mitchell
KIRSTY GILMOUR has vowed that Scotland can bounce back from their opening day defeat in Aire-Sur-La-Lys at the hands of England when they face reigning European champions Denmark tomorrow in their second Group A tie at the European Mixed Team Championships.
The Scots experienced a 4-1 loss in their opening group matches to the Auld Enemy with Gilmour’s 21-7, 21-8 victory over Abigail Holden in the Women’s Singles providing a positive result.
Yet despite that and the prospect of facing a rampant Viktor Axelsen inspired Danish side, who dispatched Ukraine 5-0, the Scotland No.1 believes there is cause for optimism.
Kirsty said: “I don’t think we can be too disappointed we were still really in it and will take a breather tonight but we will be right back up for it against Denmark.
“We had some good games that just didn’t go our way and there were some solid performances in there and it is just a shame that we didn’t get a couple more points on the board.
“The margins are fine within the doubles disciplines and it’s so hard and flat, really we were just a bit unlucky in a few key points while to be fair to them England were very solid.”
In the Mixed Doubles, Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson went down 16-21, 16-21, to Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in 38-minutes.
James Robertson, who flew out to France yesterday showed fighting spirit in the second, but unfortunately lost in straight sets to Johnnie Torjussen 10-21, 19,21.
In the Women’s Singles, World No.18 Gilmour delivered a match-play master class to beat Abigail Holden in straight sets in an encounter that lasted just 24 minutes.
The tie hinged on the Men’s Doubles meeting of Adam Hall and Alex Dunn and although the Scottish champions lost the first set 21-14, they claimed a 22-20 victory in the second only to succumb in the third 21-14 after 53-minutes, confirming the English victory.
Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance were unable to claim any consolation in the Women’s Doubles as they lost out 9-21, 15-21 to Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith in 32-minutes.
That left a games countback score of 8-3 in the English favour while interestingly over the tie as a whole England racked up 203 points compared to our 177 – all of which confirmed Kirsty’s claim that the margins were relatively slim.
Looking back to European Mixed Team Championships in Finland two years distant, when the Scots pushed Denmark all the way before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat, Gilmour was upbeat about our prospects this time around.
Kirsty said: “Denmark are not at full strength this time around but then neither were we in ’21 when both Alex (Dunn) and myself were missing so it will be really interesting to see how this edition of the teams match up.
“I think it will be really exciting tomorrow as there will be some great match ups although I think James (Robertson) may be up against it when he faces either Viktor Axelsen, the current World No.1 or Anders Antonsen who has been up at No.3, so that will be a big ask for James but I’m sure he will relish it.
“In the Men’s Doubles we are a strong pair and Adam and Alex have every chance there and of course after coming so close today in a tough three-setter they will be hungry to bounce back.
“So really looking at all the doubles matches they are pretty much 50/50 and I think there is the prospect of some great matches in there.
“But as I said we will be right up for it.”
Next up for Gilmour is likely to be a meeting with Denmark’s World ranked No.25 Line Christophersen or Line Kjaersfeldt with the former a winner against Ukraine and the latter ranked just one place below the Scottish No.1 at No.19 in the world rankings.
Kirsty said: “I’ve played both of them over the years and Line Kjaersfeldt is roughly my age and we have had a good few matches going back whereas Christophersen is a bit younger although we have played each other a couple of times.
“So they are quite strong but at the same time I think they can be shaken and that I can do some damage and especially with Bob (Blair) at the back of the court I think I can figure out some decent tactics against them.
“Physically I also feel very good after today and was pleased to come through in straight sets. Either way it will be tough but I’m ready for it.”