Two Scottish pairings delighted the home crowd as they progressed into the second round on an entertaining first evening at the Scottish Open, capping off a mixed day of action for the local contingent.
Alex Dunn and Ciara Torrance got the party started with a convincing 21-11 23-21 triumph over fifth-seeded New Zealand pairing Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak in the mixed doubles, triggering roars of appreciation from the Emirates Arena stands.
And fourth seeds Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson gave them even more to cheer about shortly after in the same event, toppling French pairing Eloi Adam and Margot Lambert to safely book their place in tomorrow’s second round.
The results came as a welcome change for the Scottish players, who this afternoon suffered a string of defeats against a competitive and formidable-looking foreign field.
But Dunn and Torrance were just delighted to make it through, picking up valuable momentum ahead of what promises to be a fascinating next three days.
“It’s great to get our campaign off to a good start – it’s only mine and Ciara’s second tour together so it’s an early start to our partnership,” Dunn said.
“First set we were happy with, and then in the second set the first few shots were a bit nervy, but we were happy to get through that as it was a bit of a scabby one.
“Of course it’s nice to please the Glasgow crowd – it’s always nice to have a bit of home support and both mine and Ciara’s friends and family are here, who only get to watch us so often.
“It’s nice to perform in front of them and also get the win, and it would be unbelievable if we won here later this week.”
Hall and MacPherson’s victory was an equally dominant affair, cruising past their outclassed opponents to keep their dreams of lifting the trophy alive.
And after securing their first win of the campaign so far, they said they see no reason why they can’t go all the way and achieve a memorable triumph on home soil come Sunday night.
“I don’t see why winning the tournament can’t be a realistic expectation,” Hall said.
“If we keep playing and can get over the line in these matches then there’s no reason why we can’t win it – I think we’re definitely good enough and we’ll take a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.
“We started off a little bit shaky at the start – I don’t know if that was nerves but we just missed quite a few shots at the beginning of the game.
“But once we got into the game more there was really no going back – we didn’t give them much to play with so that’s a good thing and hopefully a sign of things to come.”
MacPherson added: “It always helps getting some home support – it spurs us on to play better, so hopefully we can use that going into the next rounds as well.
“It would be so special if we were to win it – everyone wants to win their home tournament so that would be special in front of our family and friends.”
It wasn’t quite such plain sailing for the other Scots in action, however, as young pairing Matthew Grimley and Sarah Sidebottom succumbed to a 21-19 12-21 15-21 mixed doubles defeat against sixth-seeded English couple Gregory Mairs and Victoria Williams.
And while acknowledging they were far from their best on what was a busy opening day at the tournament, Grimley remained upbeat about their future as a promising young partnership.
“I thought we had good patches throughout the match, but overall we just didn’t get enough points in the first three serves, and ultimately it was that which made the difference I think,” he said.
“We’re definitely enjoying playing together and we do see this as the start of something we could build.
“We used to play together at junior level so we are sort of used to each other’s games so that helps, and there are definitely positives we can take.”
Elsewhere for the Scottish players, 18-year-old Joshua Apiliga succumbed to a sobering 15-21 14-21 defeat to India’s Kiran George in the men’s singles, drawing to a close a varied nights of results for the local favourites.
But there were some more eye-catching scorelines elsewhere, as third seed Pablo Abian was sent crashing out in dramatic fashion after a 21-16 21-17 defeat to the up and coming French talent Christo Popov.
Fourth seed Ygor Coelho also survived a minor scare against Belgian Maxime Moreels, overturning a one-game deficit to clinch the last two 21-10 21-11 to save his Scottish Open blushes.
Meanwhile, Joran Kweekel edged past Lina Munoz 14-21 21-18 21-13, while Rasmus Messerschmidt beat Danish compatriot Magnus Johannesen 21-16 21-19 and Toma Junior Popov carried on from where he left off after his Irish Open crown last week with a two-game victory over Luis Enrique Penalver.
Promising Irish star and eighth seed Nhat Nguyen also secured a tight victory against crestfallen Englishman Alex Lane, overturning a first game deficit to snatch glory at the eleventh hour.
After a scintillating first day of action at the Emirates Arena, players, officials and supporters will now all be preparing to go again on what is shaping up to be an equally entertaining second day at the famous old championship.
Full results are at www.tournamentsoftware.com
Tickets are on sale at badmintonscotland.org.uk/scottish-open/tickets
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships is being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, and Yonex.
For more information contact Peter Dean, Head of Events, on 0141 445 1218 or email email@example.com