Posted on 17th January 2023
By RJ Mitchell
JULIE MACPHERSON is hoping that the battle scars of last week’s defeats in the Malaysian Open can make the difference in New Delhi this week at the Yonex Sunrise Indian Open.
MacPherson suffered a gut-wrenching three set defeat in the mixed doubles with partner Adam Hall after taking No.5 seeded Hong Kong duo Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Tsuet to the brink only to lose 21-19 in the deciding stanza.
More agony was to come in the women’s doubles as Julie and partner Ciara Torrance found themselves match-point down at 19-20 in the deciding set against Yujia Jin and Wong Jia Ying Crystal only for a net cord to hand the Singaporeans victory in the most harrowing fashion.
But with her acclimatisation complete and some invaluable practise in the bank the Scottish No.1 women’s doubles player is determined put all of that pain to good use in the K.D Jadhav Indoor Hall.
Julie said: “Every match at this level is difficult but Malaysia will have really helped sharpen us up and also the training we have had out with the tournament in Malaysia was great.
“We were able to play practise matches against all the European players from other countries and it has been nice to play against new styles and different opponents and all of that has been really positive preparation and also offered something different and fresh.
“We travelled to India on Saturday night and had our first practise on Sunday and it was great to test out the hall before our matches.
“In Malaysia we only managed one hit in the main hall and it would have been better if it had been two.
“In the women’s doubles we know that the Japanese pair of Rin Iwinaga & Kie Nakanishi are very highly ranked (22nd world ranked) and we played them before around 18-months back in the final of the Belgian International and lost in two sets.
“Since then they have had a lot of good wins and have really built up their ranking and we know it will be a tough match but if we play as well as we can then I think we have a chance but again we know how tough it will be.
“In the mixed Adam (Hall) and I have Kim Won Ho & Jeong Na Eun and they made it through to the quarter-finals in Malaysia and beat the Olympic champions in the process so they are obviously playing very well and that will be tough.
“But again if we play our best we know we can challenge the best and that is what we have to deliver.”
Reflecting on Malaysia, Julie was keen to accentuate the positive and she said: “The women’s doubles match was a tough one to take with them getting a net cord on match point. That is the first time it has ever happened to me on a match point and with the scores being so close in the decider it was just really hard to take.
“But there was nothing we could do about it, we were just so gutted, and we couldn’t believe how it had unfolded and obviously with having lost 21-19 in the third set the previous day in the mixed it only made it worse.
“So two very close losses but plenty to learn from and you just have to find a way to take the positives from the whole match over all.
“When I looked at the draws for both matches they were tough and obviously drawing the fifth seeds in the mixed, who we had played before at the end of 20/21 at the Worlds and lost in straight sets pretty comfortably, well we knew it would be a difficult match.
“But we also knew that the girl had been out for a while and had broken her arm at the end of 21 and hadn’t been playing that much competitive badminton, so we knew they wouldn’t be up to their usual standards.
“So we made the most of that and played very well against them but they had the edge in experience and they played better on the close points at the end and made that count.
“In terms of the women’s we got off to a good start and were up 9-2 in the first set and then they came on to their game at the end of the first set and we did well to edge it on the tie-break.
“In the third set it was just very even all the way and we did play very well and then they got the break at the end. The Singapore pair then made it through to the quarter-finals and as a result now have a higher ranking than us. So we knew how strong they were.”
One of the big talking points from last week’s visit to Kuala Lumpur was the impact of the air conditioning inside the Axiata Arena and as Julie confirmed the experience was challenging.
The World No.26 ranked women’s doubles player said: “There has been a lot of discussion about that (air con) and everyone has agreed how windy it was! I was lucky in that I played both of my matches on a court that wasn’t too bad and a few people said that court was the best.
“But the wind was just very difficult even on that court. On one side it was flying out the back and on the other side it was really slow and I think there were a lot of three set matches in Malaysia just because of the conditions of the hall and it was difficult to get used to it.
“But every time you play in a big arena there is a challenge to deal with in respect of the air con and we will have to see how it is in India this week.”
However Julie has no doubt about the value of her trip to the Far East and she said: “It has been good travelling to Asia as we only travelled there last summer and haven’t been out of Europe that much. Experiencing bigger halls, the culture and the food is all great.
“There are a lot of European tournaments after this and then the Olympic qualifiers start in April and before that we have the European Mixed Champs in France and that will be a really good event and nice because we are playing for Scotland.
“Hopefully we have a great chance of going far in that and this week and last week will definitely be a positive in that respect.”