Kirsty Gilmour has been drawn in the same half of the women’s singles as China’s Cai Yanyan at the Scottish Open Badminton Championships, to be played at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-25 November 2018.
Gilmour, the reigning women’s singles champion, will have to overcome a number of difficult challenges if she wants to retain her title, opening her campaign against England’s Georgina Bland with a second round match against Denmark’s Mette Poulsen her likely reward.
Although Gilmour can boast a 6-0 head to head record against Poulsen, she will be all too aware of the threat posed by the Dane who won a European bronze medal last year.
There would then be a potential quarter-final against sixth seed Rachel Honderich of Canada or Swiss No. 1 Sabrina Jaquet to negotiate before she can begin to think about a semi-final match against the Chinese top seed and on seeing today’s draw, Gilmour commented on how strong the line-up is for the 2018 event.
“This year’s Scottish Open is maybe one of the strongest we’ve seen in terms of world rankings for the ladies’ singles” she said. “Each round is going to be extremely tough so I’ll have to be prepared from the very start.
“You can never take anything for granted in sport but I know I can always rely on the Scottish crowd to fill up the seats and give a huge amount of support to me and the other players.
“I know everyone looks forward to stepping out into the Emirates Arena every year at this event and this year will be no exception.”
In the bottom half of the draw 2015 champion Line Kjaersfeldt also faces some stiff opposition including a first round tie against Fabienne Deprez of Germany, a likely quarter-final against Spain’s Beatriz Corrales and a potential semi-final against Chinese fourth seed Chen Xiaoxin.
In the men’s singles, top seed Rasmus Gemke is a man in form having reached the semi-finals of the French Open last week, beating world no. 3 Chou Tien Chen on his way to the last four.
But his route to the final in Glasgow is far from straightforward. He is in the same half of the draw as Dutch third seed Mark Caljouw and English sixth seed Toby Penty, both of whom have beaten him in the last twelve months – Caljouw in the final of the Orleans Masters in April and Penty on his way to winning the Scottish Open title last year.
Matthew Carder is the only Scot in the main draw and will face Luka Wraber of Austria in the first round with Christopher Grimley, Jack MacGregor and Ben Torrance all hoping to battle through the qualifying rounds.
MacGregor and Ciar Pringle will get to test themselves against Olympic bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge in the first round of the men’s doubles while there is an intriguing tie for Christopher and Matthew Grimley, who face former champion Richard Eidestedt and his partner Peter Kaesbauer. Eidestedt won the title in 2008 while representing England, although he currently plays for Sweden.
In the bottom half of the draw Alex Dunn and Adam Hall play Russia’s Konstantin Abramov and Alexandr Zinchenko in the first round with last year’s runners-up Jacco Arends and Ruben Jille their likely second round opponents while last year’s champions Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling also face the prospect of an interesting second round match against talented French youngsters Christo and Toma Junior Popov.
In the women’s doubles Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva are in outstanding form after their magnificent run to the finals of last week’s French Open, which included wins over pairs ranked second and eighth in the world.
They start their Scottish Open campaign against Germany’s Lisa Kaminski and Hannah Pohl while second seeds Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen open against Czech opposition, with Eleanor O’Donnell and Ciara Torrance their potential second round opponents if the Scots can overcome England’s Evie Burbidge and Zoe King in the first round.
Julie MacPherson and Holly Newall must win through qualifying to reach the main draw, where they would face eighth seeds Emma Karlsson and Johanna Magnusson of Sweden.
O’Donnell may also have to face Piek in the mixed doubles – if she and Alex Dunn win their first round tie against a pair from qualifying then third seeds Piek and Jacco Arends are their likely second round opponents.
In the same half of the draw if Hall and MacPherson beat Canadian opposition in the first round, they will probably face second seeds Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich in round two while top seeds Ellis and Lauren Smith start with a tricky tie against Denmark’s Mathias Bay-Smidt and Rikke Søby.
Commenting on the draws Badminton Scotland chief executive Keith Russell said: “There are some really interesting matches right from the start of this year’s Scottish Open Badminton Championships.
“There will be some fantastic talent on display including players such as Rasmus Gemke, Cai Yanyan, Line Kjaersfeldt and the Stoeva sisters who are regularly challenging, and beating, some of the best players in the world right now.
“Kirsty Gilmour will have to be on top of her game if she wants to progress and I’m looking forward to seeing Ciar Pringle and Jack MacGregor testing themselves against the current Olympic bronze medallists in the men’s doubles.
“It will also be interesting to see how some of the younger players get on. The Grimley twins have an interesting first round match in the men’s doubles, while players like Nhat Nguyen of Ireland and Christo and Toma Popov from France, young players who have shown their class at junior level, are also capable of springing a surprise over the more established senior players.
“I’m really looking forward to what will be a great event and I’d encourage as many fans as possible to get down to the Emirates Arena to take advantage of the chance to see some world class badminton on Scottish soil.”
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You can view the full draws on the BWF events calendar here
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.