Posted on 21st March 2023
By RJ Mitchell
ALEXANDER DUNN is hoping that last week’s career best win at the All England Championships can provide the perfect platform for a glory run in Switzerland this week.
Alex and Adam Hall defeated World No.10 ranked Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho 21-15, 21-14 in the first round at the Utilita Arena Birmingham last weekend in a victory the Scotland international had no qualms in tagging as his team’s ultimate high.
But as Alex and Adam get ready to go again in the St. Jakobshalle, Basel with a challenging draw against Malaysian No.3 seeds Ong Yen Sin and Teo Ee Yi, he admits it is vital that the lessons learned in both victory and defeat in Birmingham last time around will be important.
Alex said: “The win over Gyu and Ho was the best result of our careers as a pair and we are feeling confident in our ability to beat the best. Throughout the last year now at these top tournaments we are winning a few rounds consistently and then also playing against the best in the world regularly so from that point of view we have our eyes in now.
“The experience and confidence from the All England last week is definitely what we need to take into the Swiss, we need to have the belief that we can beat the big boys and have that aura on court.
“They (Sin and Yi) will be thinking they are higher ranked and that we don’t win at that highest level, but after last week’s result against the Koreans they will know what we can produce.
“So hopefully that creates a reverse pressure on them and hopefully we can then capitalise on that at the start of the match.”
The meeting with the Malaysians, who are world ranked No.8 in the latest BWF rankings will prove to be a revenge mission as well as another opportunity for Dunn and Hall to elevate their ‘pb’ from last week’s rarefied heights but Alex was in no mood to underestimate the challenge ahead.
He said: “We played them in the second round of the Swiss last year and lost 16-21, 12-21 and they are an extremely talented pair with an absolutely rock solid defence.
“The St. Jakobshalle is like Birmingham in that it is such a big hall and so not the quickest and you really need to work your opponents and again it will be about not letting them get comfortable.
“We need to open the shuttle out, put the pressure on the first three shots and really take the advantage but we will need to really be on our game.
“I haven’t looked past them as you just need to take each round as it comes but if we can beat them the draw will open up, so it’s a big match on a number of levels.”
Last week’s outstanding victory against the classy Koreans was all the more impressive given the fact Alex has had his training badly disrupted by back and adductor injuries in recent weeks.
As he provided a fascinating dissection of the strategy behind this seminal success the Scottish Men’s Doubles champion was rightly a satisfied man: “They were ranked No.9 (Gyu and Ho have now dropped one place to No.10 in latest BWF rankings) in the world which was our first time beating a top-10 pair and that was a great feeling.
“We analysed them and put a game plan together and then we stuck at it to the dot, everything went our way, and we executed it very well and if you do that you usually get the win.
“We knew from watching them and the Korean style of badminton, which Bob (Blair, Scotland coach) is very knowledgeable about, that their style of badminton hasn’t changed very much over the years.
“They are very strong and efficient players who will almost work you to death but are relatively simple in terms of their patterns which you can read quite quickly.
“So we analysed these patterns and most of the time it was hitting straight lines so we knew exactly what shot to play, follow up on them and counteract anything they came up with.
“We also tried not to let them get into a defensive game as they have a very strong defence and can keep going on forever and what we tried to do was to capitalise on the first few shots and not let them get comfortable and set into their rhythm.”
Last week’s All England campaign ended for Alex and Adam at the hands of the Japanese former World Champions and ex-World No.1 pairing of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi and Alex admitted it had been a step up in class.
He said: “It was 17 and 17 and they always had that three or four point cushion, so whenever we got a run of serves we weren’t quite close enough to put that pressure on them.
“There is a complete difference if it is 17-all whereas it was 14-17 and we were coming from behind and they are top-4 in the world and we felt that in terms of their speed and ability to punish us very quickly.
“Really they needed very little opportunity to damage us and turn things around quickly in a point when they were under pressure, so if we didn’t stay on top in a rally they really hurt us. But they are former world champions, world No.1s and they’ve done it all and we definitely felt that!”
Alex once had his smash time at 380 kph but admits that the varying conditions from hall to hall have a major impact on whether he will unload his Exocets: “The hall at the Utilita Arena Birmingham is lovely to play in but it is quite slow due to its size, so maybe my smash wasn’t as effective and we tried to get more angles to stop the opposition settling and vary our attacks so they weren’t waiting on our attacks,” shared the Scottish champion.
Alex concluded: “Sometimes, depending on the conditions, the power game is not the key factor and it is more about being smart with our attacks. So we will see how things are this week but if I get the opportunity to unload then I will be taking it!”