Posted on 21st September 2023
By RJ Mitchell
JULIE MACPHERSON believes that a high quality entry in the Scottish Open Women’s Doubles can make it the pick of the bunch when the action gets underway at the Emirates Arena on October 5.
Scottish National Champions Julie and partner Ciara Torrance are seeded No.2 in the women’s doubles behind top seeds and European champions Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva of Bulgaria.
But the Scotland international is in no mood to underestimate the size of the challenge awaiting her and Ciara as they attempt to progress to their allotted second seed position in the final with dangerous Danish and Japanese opposition lurking in the bottom half of the draw.
Yet with a quarter-final run in 2019 representing her pairing’s ‘PB’ at the Scottish, the World No. 35 ranked doubles ace is determined to go deep in the Glasgow draw.
Julie said: “There are a good few pairs in the draw who are pretty strong with the Stoevas (World No.20) at the top of that but from our point of view with the Danes (Finne-Ipsen & Surrow) and the Japanese (Kawazoe & Konishi) in our half of the draw we just have to focus on what we need to do from match to match.
“In terms of the Stoevas we have never played them in a tournament but we have seen plenty of them around and they have been European champions for many years and are top-20 world ranked and won the European Games in the summer. So they are the favourites but we’d love to play them and meet that challenge.
“So the standard is very high and we will need to produce our best every time we are on court.”
In particular it is the threat of the Japanese duo of Maiko Kawazoe & Haruna Konishi, who took out the French World ranked No.26 pairing of Margot Lambert and Anne Tran en route to winning the Belgian International earlier this month, which represents the biggest threat to Julie and Ciara.
Reflecting on this Julie said: “The Japanese pair are really good and they won Belgium last week and beat everyone very convincingly but maybe don’t have many ranking points which is why they are not seeded.
“So they are looking to play these European tournaments to build their ranking up and they are doing a great job of that.
“So I would say they are very much a pair to watch in our half of the draw.”
Julie added: “We have Bergstein and Werge from Denmark in our opening match and I think Bergstein has had a few good results in mixed but as a couple we don’t know too much about them as they play most of their badminton on the Challenge Tour, so we will be doing our homework before we meet.
“But there is also Julie Finne-Ipsen and Mai Surrow, who are a really good Danish pair, in our section and they have been out with injury but before they got injured they were excellent and we had played them twice and it was one win each. So I wouldn’t underestimate them.”
Yet of one thing Julie is in no doubt and that it is great to have the Scottish Open back after a two year hiatus and she said: “It is really good to play the Scottish Open again and especially since it has been two years since it has been on.
“Even though it wasn’t on last year we got to play European Mixed Team Champs which was at Scotstoun so at least we had an event in Scotland but it is just great to have it back and the players are excited about the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd.
“The European Mixed Team event was a wee bit different as it was a team event but you can’t underestimate the difference a home crowd makes. Having friends and family in the crowd and them getting right behind you really does drive you on.
“So the Scottish Open is our first international event this year at home and with it being back at the Emirates that is great.”
Also featuring in the Women’s Doubles are Kirsten Berry and Sophie Ford who could provide quarter-final opposition for the top seeded Stoevas from Bulgaria.
Rachel Andrew and Eleanor O’Donnell could also progress to a second round meeting with third seeded German pairing Kuespert and Mosczczynski.
Ishbel McCallister and Brooke Stalker face English opposition in Chen and Zhang.
However there will be no entry for Julie and partner Adam Hall in the Mixed Doubles as she explained: “We haven’t entered as we have four tournaments straight after the Scottish while Adam was in China and Hong Kong playing Men’s Doubles and has played quite a lot of tournaments already and just wanted a break to train before we start back with the Finnish Open.
“But for me in terms of the Women’s Doubles it would be great to get a few wins under our belts before returning to the higher level and boost our confidence for that.”
However there are three home pairings in the Mixed Doubles with Rachel Andrew and Adam Pringle opening against Spanish opposition in Fernandez and Lopez while Jack MacGregor and Sarah Sidebottom face England’s Yap and Harris.
Chris Grimley and Eleanor O’Donnell face Denmark’s Esperson and Kudsk.
In the Men’s Doubles the Grimley twins are top-seeded and enjoy a bye in the opening round, with Jack MacGregor and Adam Pringle to face English duo Easton and Russ.
In the Women’s Singles, Rachel Sugden will get her campaign underway against seventh seed Malaysian Kisona Selvaduray and in the Men’s Singles James Robertson meets Austria’s Collins Filimon.