Posted on 14th February 2020
Scotland Women advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2020 European Men’s and Women’s Team Championships after claiming the best group runners-up spot.
Victories over Norway, Poland and Spain put Scotland in a great position to top Group 7 in Lievin, France only to lose to Sweden on Thursday.
But having won 16 matches and lost just four across their four fixtures second-placed Scotland progressed to the last eight where they will meet second seeds Russia on Friday.
Scotland could not have got the group stages off to a better start as they swept aside Norway 5-0 on Tuesday.
Kirsty Gilmour kicked things off with 21-9, 21-5 victory over Emilie Hamang. There were also singles wins for Holly Newall (21-11, 21-9) and debutant Rachel Sugden (21-11, 21-12) while Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance (21-5, 21-11) and Gilmour and Eleanor O’Donnell (21-16, 21-12) came out on top in the doubles.
On Wednesday, Scotland thumped Poland 5-0 with Gilmour, Newall, Sugden, O’Donnell and MacPherson contributing to the success.
Gilmour’s 100 per cent record was ended when she went down 21-14, 21-13 to Spain’s Carolina Marin later that day.
But Scotland bounced back with Newall beating Manuela Diaz 21-12, 21-4 and Sugden seeing off Ania Setien 21-13, 21-14.
Gilmour overcame her singles defeat to win her doubles match alongside O’Donnell while MacPherson and Newall were victorious after Setien and Lorena Usle retired.
Confidence was high in the camp ahead of their clash with Sweden who were the only other side to have won their previous third meetings in the group.
It was set to be an absorbing encounter and that was how it proved.
Gilmour got Scotland off the mark with a 21-9, 21-13 success over Ashwathi Pillai before Newall and Rebecca Kuhl played out a thriller.
Newall took the first set 21-12 before Kuhl came back to win the next 21-10 and the decider 21-19.
Edith Urell then overcame Sudgen 21-16, 21-15 before Emma Karlsson and Johanna Magnusson beat Newall and O’Donnell 21-10, 21-10.
But Scotland won the final match of the day as Gilmour and MacPherson were 23-21, 11-8 up before Clara Nistad and Moa Sjoo retired.
Gilmour said: “I’ve enjoyed getting back on the doubles court, it’s been a while since my last international match!
“It’s been tough to play so many matches back to back but I also like the momentum it gives me and the team.”
Sugden added: ”I was so proud to have been selected for my first cap for Scotland, and I was really excited to step out onto court to play Norway.
“The team has been playing really well so far, winning our opening two matches 5-0 made a nice start to the tournament!”