Ouseph eyes third title as Gemke withdraws

Fourth seed Rajiv Ouseph is expecting a tough run if he is going to make the latter stages of the Scottish Open.

The Englishman begins the tournament in Glasgow against a qualifier or Bulgarian Ivan Rusev in round two due to a bye.

Ouseph, the world number 35, is the top ranked player from the home nations as he heads into the tournament at the Emirates Arena.

He comes into the championships off the back of reaching the final of the SaarLorLux Open earlier this month, where he lost in straight sets to India’s Subhankar Dey.

“My preparations been going pretty well,” Ouseph, 32, said.

“We’ve just come off the back of a European tour that ended well for me, so I am looking forward to competing in the Scottish Open.

“We played the Commonwealth Games there in 2014, it’s always a great venue with a knowledgeable crowd.

“It’s nice because it’s not too far away in terms of travel. For us as athletes we play all around Asia and Europe and it can get quite taxing.

“To have a high-quality tournament close to home is a nice feeling to play there.

“I am seeded fourth, so there’s going to be some tough matches for me, and I will take it one match at a time, but I will try and go deep into the tournament if I can.”

Ouseph, 32, is a two-time former champion and last played in the tournament in 2015, where he made the final before being beaten by Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.

Despite his previous impressive performance, he is always wary of an upset.

He added: “For me now there’s a lot of players younger than me, so I’ve got to watch out for these guys that are improving all the time and trying to improve their world rankings.

“It will be a very tough tournament, but I know that if I can play well it will put me in good stead and put me into the later rounds.”

Frenchman Brice Leverdez will be looking to win the Scottish Open for the second time when he takes the court.

He took home the title in 2013, which he ranks as one of greatest achievements in the sport.

He is the second seed and will face either Croatia’s Zvonimir Durkinjak or a qualifier in the second round of the tournament due to a first round bye.

Leverdez, 32, has had a mixed season so far with his best performance coming in the European Championships in April where he reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Dane Viktor Axelsen.

The Frenchman will be looking to emulate his form from five years ago, where he pulled off the victory against Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen.

Leverdez will start as the favourite after top seed Rasmus Gemke pulled out of the tournament due to illness. The Dane had been due to face the winner of Hungary’s Gergely Krausz and Finland’s Kalle Koljonen in the second round.

The 21-year-old won the Barcelona Spain Masters earlier this season and has been climbing the world rankings – where he is currently 20th.

Gemke had been looking to better his 2017 performance at the tournament, where he was knocked out in the semi-finals by Toby Penty

Penty, who will be defending the men’s singles title he won last year, will open up in round two against India’s Karan Rajan Rajarajan or Italy’s Rosario Maddaloni.

The Englishman has two tournament wins so far this year – the FZ Forza Slovenia International in April and the Yonex Belgian International in September.

Third seed Mark Caljouw, from Holland, will be looking to go better than last year’s tournament, where he made the semi-finals.

The Dutchman was beaten by Frenchman Lucas Corvee in a tightly fought match in 2017.

Spain’s Pablo Abian and Denmark’s Victor Svendsen round off the seeded players for the tournament, which starts on Wednesday.

Abian has reached the quarter finals of his last three tournaments.

While Svendsen, 23, has had a great year which has seen him reach four tournament finals – including a win at the Kabal International Karvina in the Czech Republic in March.

Matthew Carder is the sole representative from Scotland already into round one but others could be added after qualifying.

Ben Torrance, Jack MacGregor and Chris Grimley are all in with a chance of making it with eight spots up for grabs.

Tickets are on sale now

The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are 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.