Scottish Open 2021: The ones to watch

After last year’s cancellation, the third oldest tournament in world badminton makes a long-awaited return to Glasgow with 415 total entries from 35 different countries. This year’s entry boasts a strong Scottish contingent with players seeded in four out of five events and includes sizable teams from Scotland, England, France, Germany and Denmark while athletes are travelling from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Guatemala, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and New Zealand in search of adding their names to a prestigious list of Scottish Open winners.

The Emirates Arena will be treated to some first-class action this week and with a thrilling few days of action ahead of us, let’s take a look at the ones to watch at the 2021 Scottish Open.

Men’s Singles

Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon is seeded first and comes into the event having picked up Pan American Championships bronze and won his home event, the Guatemala International, already this year.

34-year-old Cordon has a wealth of experience, having competed at four back-to-back Olympic Games, reaching the semi-finals in Tokyo this summer, and takes on Scottish youngster Joshua Apiliga in the first round.

Brazilian Ygor Coelho, a previous Pan American Games gold medallist, is seeded second and was runner-up here last time out in 2019, beaten in three sets in the final by Lakshya Sen.

2017 champion Penty is third on the list and, fresh from his Olympic debut in Tokyo, heads north of the border currently ranked 51 in the BWF men’s singles rankings, just one place behind Coelho.

India’s Subhankar Dey is next in the seedings. The 28-year-old has experience of winning a BWF world tour title before, lifting the 2018 SaarLorLux Open in Germany, and will hope to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot and reigning champion Sen.

Women’s Singles

Home favourite Kirsty Gilmour is the only place to start, having won this event twice before in 2017 and 2018.

She is the top seed for this year’s tournament as she aims to regain the title she lost in 2019 to France’s Qi Xuefei.

The Bellshill star always produces her best at the Emirates Arena, also winning a Commonwealth Games bronze medal here at Glasgow 2014.

Gilmour’s first challenger, Wen Chi Hsu, will prove to be tough competition. Although unseeded for this event, Hsu beat Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt at the Irish Open last week and will be looking to get another win under her belt.

Having lost the final to Gilmour here three years, Danish second seed Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt will be eager to add the Scottish Open to an already long list of titles.

Estonian third seed Kristin Kuuba is another contender, with the 24-year-old having already won two European singles titles in 2021 – the Polish Open and the Dutch Open.

Her Dutch Open final win came against England’s Abigail Holden, who is unseeded but will look to mount a challenge this week.

Highly-rated young Malaysian Eoon Qi Xuan is also seeded at number seven. The 21-year-old was part of her national team’s mixed squad that won a bronze at the 2021 Sudirman Cup.

Men’s Doubles

As with the women’s singles, a home entry is seeded first in this event.

Scotland’s Alex Dunn and Adam Hall will be aiming to repeat their success at the last Scottish Open in 2019, when they became the first home pairing to lift the trophy since Billy Gililand and Dan Travers in 1983.

They go in as number one seeds, with Netherlands’ Ruben Jille and Ties Van Der Lecq second.

The Dutch duo were beaten by Dunn and Hall in the 2020 Austrian Open final in straight sets and will be looking to avoid a repeat if they meet again this week.

Englishman Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood add an extra British flavour to the draw, seeded third.

Hemming has won a BWF men’s doubles title previously, when he and Max Flynn triumphed at the 2018 Welsh International.

An Irish partnership of Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds are fourth seeds. Magee reached the Irish Open men’s doubles final back in 2017, picking up the silver with his brother Sam after a defeat to Dunn and Hall.

One dangerous pair entering unseeded in the qualifiers that are out to spring a surprise are Korean duo Kim Gi-Jung and Kim Sa-Rang.

The pair have won gold at both the Asian Games and the Asian Championships as well as bronze at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships.

Women’s Doubles

Two Canadian pairs make the top six seeds in the women’s doubles this year.

The formidable partnership Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai lead the draw, having won the Pan Am Championship gold in Guatemala earlier this year.

They could face stern competition from Scottish pair Julie Macpherson and Ciara Torrance, who will be hoping to find the form they showed at the Belgian International earlier in the season, where they were runners-up.

Also flying the flag for Canada will be Catherine Choi and Josephine Wu, seeded sixth.

Christine Busch and Amalie Schulz are the third seeds, the pair looking for a second title of the year having won the Portuguese International Championships in May.

2021 Dutch Open champions and fourth seeds here, Sweden’s Johanna Magnusson and Clara Nistad, representing Sweden are another in-form team to watch out for this week.

Further British interest comes in the form of ‘Team Jessica’ as England’s Hopton and Pugh go in seeded fifth.

Pugh was part of the England squad that won mixed team bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Mixed Doubles

Denmark’s Mikkel Mikkelsen and Rikke Soby are seeded top for the mixed doubles, after a run to the finals at the Irish Open.

Mikkelsen is a former Scottish Open runner-up, back in 2017 when partnering Mai Surrow, while Soby won a BWF World Tour title in 2019 at the Swiss Open.

The 26-year-old was the beaten finalist here back in 2019, when she was paired with fellow Dane Mathias Bay-Smidt.

Two home pairs are also seeded, with Adam Hall and Julie Macpherson joining up as second seeds and leading the Scottish charge.

Alexander Dunn and Ciara Torrance, seeded eighth, will also be looking to make the most of home advantage.

As with the women’s doubles, England’s Jessica Pugh is seeded fifth. She will play with Callum Hemming in the mixed draw as the pair look to build on a successful year which has included victory at the Portugal Open.

Australian doubles specialist Gronya Somerville is seeded third along with partner Simon Leung. The duo have hovered around the world top 50 over the last couple of years and will hope for a statement title here.

Another Danish doubles team, Rasmus Espersen and Christine Busch, are seeded fourth. Earlier this year at the Swiss Open they pulled off a surprise result, eliminating the experienced Amalie Magelund and Niclas Nohr in the first round.

Both will fancy their chances of going deep in a competitive and open field.