Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees got his Yonex US Open challenge off to an impressive start by defeating Japan’s fourth seed Kazumasa Sakai in the first round in Anaheim.
Merrilees won 21-15 22-20 and now faces Indonesia’s Dewantoro Pandu later today.
The Glasgow man dictated the first game against world No. 40 Sakai thanks to turning a 7-6 deficit into a 13-7 advantage before steadily advancing to take the opener on his third game point. But he made hard work of the second game after letting slip a 16-9 lead and Sakai recovered to lead 19-18 before Merrilees won on his second match point.
The Scotland squad produced two more fine wins in the men’s doubles. Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh knocked out Sweden’s seeds Richard Eidestedt and Nico Ruponen 11-21 21-19 21-18. They now face Vietnam’s Tuan Duc Do and Hong Nam Pham.
Earlier Adam Hall and Alex Dunn also upset the form book when they stunned fifth seeds Matthew Chai and Sawan Serasinghe of Australia 19-21 21-16 21-18.
The Aussies stole the first game and led 11-8 in the second before the Scots surged into a 15-11 lead on the way to forcing a decider.
Hall and Dunn led 11-6 but in a fluctuating game their opponents hit back and led 18-17 before the Scotland pair finished with a flourish with four points in a row to claim victory and earn a second-round contest with Mexico’s Job Castillo and Lino Munoz.
Kirsty Gilmour, looking to follow up her runner-up performance at Sunday’s Yonex Canada Open in Calgary, had a late finish to the opening day. She defeated Sarita Suwannakitborihan of Thailand 21-7 21-12 to book a second-round contest with Japan’s Haruko Suzuki.
But there was disappointment in the women’s doubles where Julie MacPherson and Eleanor O’Donnell went down to England’s eighth seeds Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker 21-16 21-16.
O’Donnell had a second chance to progress when she and Dunn tackled the mixed doubles, where they faced American pair Mathew Fogarty and Isabel Zhong. The young Scots proved far too strong, winning easily 21-8 21-12 in just 18 minutes, giving Dunn his second win of the opening day. But they now face Malaysian top seeds Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing.
For all the first-day results go to tournamentsoftware.com
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