Hall and MacPherson through to Scottish Open second round

An impressive comeback from Scotland’s Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson in the mixed doubles sealed their place in the second round of the Scottish Open Badminton Championships.

The homegrown pair lost the opening game against Canadian duo Nyl Yakura and Kristen Tsai, before fighting back to triumph 15-21 21-16 21-16 at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

It was the first time Hall and MacPherson had played together at the event since 2014 and while they admitted their start was sluggish, they were delighted to get a win on the board.

“It was a bit of a slow start for us, it’s always the same in the first game in a big hall like this, it can often take a while to get started due to the conditions,” Hall said.

“Once we got used to the drift we got into the second and third sets and it was a much better performance from us. It was a bit of a battle but we’re just happy to come through it.

“It was nice to be back on court together and the crowd really brought us through towards the end of that third set as we had a lead at the break and then had to fight back to get that lead again.”

MacPherson added: “We always felt confident we could come back because the first set I don’t think we got into many rallies, so once we got into the rallies we knew we had a good chance.”

Fellow Scots Alexander Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell were unable to join them, though, after losing 21-17 24-22 in a hard-fought encounter against Danish pair Joel Eipe and Mette Poulsen.

But despite falling at the first hurdle, Dunn and O’Donnell took plenty of encouragement from their performance as they now turn their attentions to the men’s and women’s doubles, respectively.

“We had a bad start in the first set, we were just getting used to the conditions in the hall and we were quite nervous as we haven’t played tournaments in quite a while,” Dunn said.

“It was a tough start but we got into it in the second half of the first set and pushed them quite close, then the second set was quite close all the way through.”

O’Donnell added: “I think it was the lack of time on court together that made the difference, there was a few – not even miscommunications – we just weren’t sharp enough.

“It’s amazing to be here, it’s the only tournament that we have in Scotland so it’s great for our friends and families to come watch as they don’t normally get the chance.”

Jacco Arends and Selena Piek, the third seeds from Netherlands, got their campaign underway with a comfortable 21-12 21-11 victory over England’s Gregory Mairs and Hope Warner.

The seventh seeds Robin Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen also secured their safe passage into round two with the Dutch pair winning 23-21 21-19 against China’s Chen Sihang and Yan Chenxue.

Meanwhile, English duo and top seeds Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith began their challenge by seeing off Denmark’s Mathias Bay-Smidt and Rikke Søby 21-18 21-17.

In the women’s singles, Chinese top seed Cai Yanyan was pushed all the way in her opening match by compatriot Ji Shuting before prevailing 21-16 19-21 21-12.

She will be joined in the second round by compatriot Chen Xiaoxin after the number four seed eased past England’s Abigail Holden 21-8 21-9 in her first round tie.

Defending men’s singles champion Toby Penty had a walkover against Italian Rosario Maddaloni, but fellow English star Rajiv Ouseph enjoyed a successful return to the court.

The two-time former champion and Commonwealth bronze medallist, who is seeded fourth, progressed to the second round with a 21-15 21-12 victory over Ivan Rusev of Bulgaria.

And while Ouseph admitted that there will be tougher tests that lie ahead, he is confident about his chances of completing a hat-trick of titles at the Scottish Open.

“The first round coming back here is always tricky to start with, so I think I was a little bit slow to start but I worked my way into the game and it was comfortable enough in the end,” he said.

“I hope I can go all the way. My preparation is always to take it one game at a time and not to look too far ahead as there are a lot of good players here and it can be a tough competition.”

France’s Thomas Rouxel also won his opening singles tie against Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen 21-16 14-21 21-19 in a thrilling three-game clash, but 16-year-old compatriot Christo Popov was unable to join him after falling to Germany’s Kai Schaefer.

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The Scottish Open Badminton Championships is 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.

For more information contact Peter Dean on 0141 445 1218 or email peter@badmintonscotland.org.uk