Hylo Open 2023 Preview: Julie MacPherson

By RJ Mitchell

JULIE MACPHERSON is hoping to make it third time lucky when she pairs up with Ciara Torrance to face Denmark’s No.4 seeded Maiken Fruergaard and Sara Thygesen at this week’s Hylo Open.

The Scottish champions have already played the Danes in the European Mixed Team Championships and the European Games this year but have yet to get the better of the World ranked No.19 Scandinavians.

But with Julie and Ciara determined to make an impact in Saarbrucken at the HSBC BWF Super 300 event the Scots are determined to play this match on their terms in a bid to dominate the Danes.

Julie said: “Maiken and Sara are good at putting pressure on you, they are aggressive in attack and in defence they are good at pressing up the court and turning the heat up.

“So we need to play an open game and not play to their strengths as much as we did last time, really we didn’t do ourselves justice when we played them at the European Games and we need to really focus on our game and how we play.

“I felt like we played a lot better in the first match (European Mixed Team Championships) and in the second we just didn’t play to our standard whereas they were very much on their games and we lost pretty convincingly.

“So there is plenty of incentive to get it right this time and really make sure we do ourselves justice.”

Reflecting on last week’s defeat at the French Open first round at the hands of the Korean duo Lee Yu Lim and Shin Seung Chan (18-21, 14-21) Julie admitted that a slow start cost dearly: “They came out playing fast, powerful badminton and we were not on it and just reacted to that.

“So it took a while for us to settle into the match and in the first set we were down 20-11 and got it back to 18 but it was just too late.

“So there were patches in which we played really well but we just couldn’t sustain it for the entirety of the match against such high quality opposition.

“Really the lesson was that there is no time to work your way into these matches, at this level you need a good start every time if possible.”

Julie added: “It is difficult to get wins at this standard of tournament and the last three weeks have been difficult, obviously we got a couple of wins at the Scottish Open and although it was only an International Challenge we felt like these were solid performances.

“But the higher the level you are at the tougher it gets, so it would be good to get a win this week in many respects.”

Turning her attention to the Mixed Doubles, Julie revealed that despite an ankle injury sustained by Adam Hall which forced the dup to scratch after one set of their first round at the French against Hee Yung Kai Terry and Tan Wei Han Jessica (11-21 retired), the Scots are good to go again in Saarbrucken.

Julie explained: “Adam actually hurt his ankle in one of the last training sessions in Denmark and then he felt it in the Men’s Doubles the day before at the French.

“So it was still a little bit sore in the Mixed and the smart move was just to call it before Adam did himself some real damage.

“It’s a busy year and you don’t want to miss chunks of it but we are planning to play this week and it is the same opposition again with the Singaporeans so it will be interesting.”

Julie herself suffered an ankle injury earlier this year and as she admitted it is tough to get the balance between rehabbing and returning to action.

The Scotland international said: “I rolled my ankle in Malaysia and it was really difficult as that was the start of a four tournament block and I didn’t have time to rest it, so it is tough to make the right call and it just depends how bad the injury is.

“This is the end of the European block and then we have a week off before we head out to Japan and China, so it is a lot of travel. Then a week off and then European Team Qualifiers, so it is a busy stretch until the end of the year.”

When it comes to how Julie copes with the highs and lows of life on the international badminton circuit she revealed her strategy: “I try to take it one tournament at a time, it can be quite difficult if you aren’t getting the results you want but we go away as a group and we get on well and everyone tries to help each other through it.

“So, it’s important not just to focus everything on the tournament and the playing side of things. Obviously it is very important, as it’s the reason you are out there, but there are other aspects like training with different people and you just have to make the most out of it even if you lose.”

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