Posted on 7th October 2023
By RJ Mitchell
RACHEL SUGDEN has admitted that her first Scottish Open campaign has exceeded her expectations.
The Scotland No.2’s fine run came to an end in the quarter-finals this morning when she was pipped 20-22, 11-21, in 34 minutes by Japan’s Haruna Konishi in a quarter-final which hinged on the opening stanza.
Yet after Rachel had recorded a season’s best victory over seventh seeded Kisona Selvaduray to set her on the way to the last eight, her first full Scottish Open campaign is one that will live long in her memory.
Reflecting on this Rachel said: “It’s been a really positive tournament for me. I’ve brought a good level here and now I just want to maintain that and build on this.
“When I won that first match against Kisona, well I wasn’t expecting to do that and so there is no doubt I have exceeded my expectations for the Scottish Open.
“Although I’ve lost against Haruna the good thing is I put myself in a really strong position and just wasn’t able to take advantage of it but now I know I can do that I need to keep doing it and see where that takes me.”
While Konishi may be better known for her doubles the Japanese epic three set defeat of top seed Clara Azurmendi late on Friday night, which was clinched in a tense third set thriller 21-19, underlined her quality and also the sheer depth of top class singles talent in the Far East that does not always elect to travel to Europe.
Taking this all into account Rachel admitted there was plenty to learn: “I was up at 20 and it was annoying that the first slipped away but Haruna is a quality player as she showed last night by taking out the top seed and I gave myself chances against her, especially in that first game.
“So it was a tough one to lose that after having set point and then you have to pick yourself back up at the beginning of the second and against someone of Haruna’s level and experience it wasn’t easy.
“She also had quite a flat style and some very nice drops with good angles and that combined with me perhaps going too tight with my shots made it tough – especially in the second set.
“Although in the second I got back in it, I then made some errors, and that is something I need to work on in my training, in terms of playing the higher quality players you just can’t give them any cheap points.”
Next up for Rachel is next week’s West of Scotland Open with the emphasis being on fun as she revealed: “I’m actually playing the West of Scotland with my sister Anna, just for fun and that will be nice and I’m certainly looking forward to that.”