By RJ Mitchell
ALEX DUNN believes that the four tournament far east swing which has just culminated with the Indonesia Open has confirmed that his partnership with Adam Hall is now a clear and present danger to the very best duos in men’s doubles.
During the last month there have been impressive highs for Alex and Adam, like their defeat of European champions Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel in the opening round of the Thailand Open.
Yet these have been combined with frustrating near misses like the three set defeat in the second round in Bangkok against the World No.9 ranked Korean duo of Gyu and Ho, which saw a 9-3 lead in the final set slip away culminating in a gut-wrenching 21-23, 21-11, 18-21 defeat.
Yet while Alex admits that the Scottish champions target of achieving a quarter – final place during this four tournament span has ultimately not been achieved he has no doubt that consistently going deep at the elite tournaments on the HSBC BWF World Tour is within their grasp.
Alex said: “My goal was small and simple for these past four weeks and that was for us to reach a quarter-final and in so doing win two matches consecutively.
“We have had some pretty good wins against the best pairs in the world over the last year or so but never backed it up but against that level of opponent, which is absolute world class, it is just really difficult to do that.
“The biggest opportunity was in Thailand against the Korean pair (Gyu & Ho) who we had beaten at the All England and we had that lead in the third set but failed to cash in on that, everything was going for us but we didn’t close it and it was a real disappointment at the time.
“So we are getting closer and closer to what we want to achieve and we believe it is coming and hopefully within the year.
“That said even after we lost to the Koreans they made semis in Thailand and finals in Singapore, so we have shown we can beat these top level pairs but it is about finding the few per cent which will allow us to be the pair making the business end of these tournaments, it’s all about detail really.”
In Indonesia last week Alex and Adam were thwarted 19-21, 16-21 by the legendary Japanese duo of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, who are world ranked No.4, but as Alex revealed have been much higher: “We’ve played them a few times now, in fact four times in the last year and they are former world champs, former World No.1s, so we know they are pretty good to say the least!,” said the World No.26 ranked doubles ace.
Alex continued: “The match as a whole was good and we were up in the first until the closing stages and we put them under pressure and forced them into errors but we just didn’t capitalise on that and close the set.
“If we’d take the first set the second could well have been a totally different affair, so really creating opportunities in this match and some others over this sequence of tournaments and not closing the deal has been a wee bit of a theme.”
Next up for Alex and Adam are the European Games in Krakow, Poland next week, with the five strong Scottish segment of a 10 player badminton squad flying out on Friday.
With Kirsty Gilmour, Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance also featuring in women’s singles and doubles respectively Alex has no doubt that this is an indication of the continued progress and development of our international squad.
He said: “Previously the only multi – sport event I’ve been to is the Commy Games and obviously that was for Scotland but this time it’s Team GB, which I take a lot of pride in, and we have an even split with the English with five of us and the same from them.
“That really underlines how far we have come I think and how much we have developed as a badminton country and hopefully all five of us can do ourselves, Scotland and of course GB proud over the next few days.
“So we leave for the European Games as part of Team GB and that is definitely a highlight of the year for us.”
Alex and Adam find themselves in a tough qualifying group but they are keen to meet that challenge and he said: “It’s group stages and then the top two from each group make the quarters which are drawn at the time and we have a strong group with the toughest opponents being the Popov brothers from France.
“We played them in the quarters to get a medal last year and it was tough and no doubt the group game with them will be another hard match but that’s fine and we look forward to that challenge.
“We also have a Polish pair and a Czech pair and I think we are starting Monday with group matches one a day until Wednesday and then Thursday to Sunday knock-outs.
“Obviously we beat the European Champions (Lamsfuss & Seidel) in the first round in Thailand so we know we have it in us to get the gold, last time around we were silver medallists but this time we want to go all the way.
“The European Games is every four years, but last year was the European Champs but this year’s European Games are the European Championships of 2023 and as I said with that multi-sport aspect to it the whole things has a really nice extra dimension to it.”