Orlen Polish Open & Madrid Spain Masters 2023: Matthew Grimley

By RJ Mitchell

Matthew and Chris Grimley are hoping that a semi-final showing at the Orlen Polish Open will provide the perfect springboard for success in Spain this week.

The World No.43 ranked pairing opened their account on Friday night with a fine 21-13, 21-14 success over fellow Scots Adam and Ciar Pringle who had themselves mounted an impressive qualification campaign to make the main draw in Tarnow.

Seeded No.2, the Grimley brothers then bested an Anglo-French pairing before defeating an Irish duo only to be defeated in yesterday morning’s semi-final by the Danish partnership of Daniel Lundgaard & Mads Vestergaard 21-14, 21-19 in an encounter that hinged on a tense second set which saw the Scots just fail to turn the tide.

With the Danes going onto win the BWF International Challenge event the disappointment of that defeat has been put firmly in context and the positives drawn from a solid campaign in Poland as Matthew reflected: “The Danes did end up going through and winning the tournament, so we don’t feel quite as bad as we did after the match.

“They were quite attacking and we maybe defended a bit too much and over the first three shots they had the edge and got on the attack and that was the difference.

“The second game was probably the key and we were more consistent in the second game and that made a difference but we just couldn’t push them into that third set.

“So over all Poland was a good week for us and especially in the second round we had a good win against a French/English pairing and we were happy to get through that one in two sets as we had lost to the French guy (Eloi Adam) before with a different partner.

“In the quarter-final against the Irish (Magee & Reynolds) we were quite clinical and got through that in two so we have some good matches behind us for Spain this week and hopefully we can build on that. Poland was definitely important for us in terms of building confidence and getting in the winning habit.”

Next up for the twins, who turned 23 last month, is an encounter with the world ranked.26 Indian partnership of MR Arjun & Dhruv Kapila in the Madrid Spain Masters Super 300 and Matthew was in no mood to underestimate the size of the task ahead later this week.

He said: “We have seen Arjun and Kapila around at a lot of the World Tour events and they are a strong couple to face in the first round but there are not many easy games at the top level.

“What we need to focus on is trying to play our game, approach it with confidence and in terms of the rankings with them being above us, cause an upset.

“But we have some good match-play under our belts from Poland and if we can improve on a couple of aspects from there we can give ourselves a shot this week.”

With a trip to France following on after this week’s visit to the Spanish capital and Olympic qualification now coming into sight Matthew admitted that 2023 is shaping up as one of the twins busiest ever campaigns.

He said: “Olympic Qualification makes it a very busy year and after Spain we have Orleans in France, then one week off for a holiday and then back to training.

“In terms of Olympic qualification everyone starts at zero points from 1st May 2023 to 1st May 2024, and the competitions during that period add up and whoever has the highest ranking will get to go to the Olympics.

“For Team GB it is one couple to qualify for the Men’s Doubles unless we manage to get two in the top eight and with Alex (Dunn) and Adam (Hall) plus the English pairing of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy  ahead of us it will be tough but we will give it everything.”

Reflecting on his partnership’s progress over the early stages of 2023 Matthew is confident that he and Chris are benefitting from the experience they are gaining as they crisscross the badminton globe: “We adapt our game plan depending on the opposition, everyone has different styles of play and different tactics work better against different styles of players,” said Matthew.

He continued: “So we speak with the coaches and listen to what they have seen in the video analysis and where we can hurt the opposition. Obviously you also pick up things from playing against a certain pair in previous matches and from watching them play around the circuit and you must make the most of all these experiences.

“Recently we played against the French couple of Corvet and Labar (lost 18-15)  who we have played a couple of times now and we went out in the first set, stuck to our game plan and started really well and then they changed a few things and maybe got a bit too tense and strayed away from the game plan and we struggled to get back on it.

“The French on the other hand stuck to their game plan and their confidence grew and they got the win and that was a frustration so we went away and our focus has been to not make that mistake again.

“So no matter the result you must keep learning from it and moving forward.”

In other results in Poland last week Chris Grimley and Eleanor O’Donnell lost out 21-17 in the third set to the French pairing of Villeger and Vallet in their first round Mixed Doubles.

While Adam Pringle and Rachel Andrew defeated Bulgarian opposition in their opening round before losing out to the Spanish duo of Monroy and Corrales via a retirement.

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