By RJ Mitchell
ADAM HALL has pinpointed greater consistency as they key takeaway from last week’s Total Energies BWF World Badminton Championships.
The Scotland international saw his hopes of a deep run in the Men’s Doubles alongside Alex Dunn snuffed out in the second round when they lost out to eventual runners-up Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmusen.
While Adam and Julie MacPherson lost out at the same stage of the Mixed Doubles when No.6 seeds Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun proved just too strong over three tight sets.
Reflecting on some memorable experiences at the event, Adam shared: “I’d say the lesson for all of us as a group is that you need to find consistency against the top level players, so maybe there is a little bit of a sense of what might have been but at the same time plenty of motivation to kick on.
“So, we are all fired up to work on things from Copenhagen, really everyone had moments in their matches where they dipped in performance but also moments of real quality and as I said it is about ensuring the drop off becomes less.
“But Copenhagen was just a great experience and when we were walking for our matches we came up through the floor in an elevator and then down a massive sets of stairs and there were great graphics behind us and it was definitely the coolest walk in we have experienced and to get that for the first round was crazy!
“You might get something like that for a semis but to get it in the first round was unbelievable while Copenhagen is a lovely city but I think everyone just came away thinking we could have played the hall that bit better.”
Turning specifically to his Men’s Doubles campaign with Alex, Adam admitted that a first round victory over the Canadian duo of Dong Adam and Nyl Yakura, which came via an injury retirement after the Scots had won the opening stanza 21-10, was not the ideal preparation for what was to follow.
He said: “Dong had a back injury from a couple of months back and when he flew to Copenhagen it flared up again. He did start the match okay but at 5-5 in the first set it went and he could hardly walk around the court.
“It was tough for us as he was in a bad place but we had to get the win and we just hope he recovers okay and we wish him all the best.
“You never want to win a match through someone retiring and we had a really good match with them in the Commonwealth team event, so it was a bit disappointing from that point of view.
“But Alex has also had some niggles over the last couple of weeks and his prep has been disrupted and we could have done with the harder opener and maybe were a bit undercooked but that’s the way it goes.”
Next up were the eventual runners-up Kim Astrup & Anders Skaarup Rasmussen who beat the Scottish Champions 21-12, 21–12 and Adam admitted: “They controlled the conditions of the hall much better than we did. It is a weirdly tricky hall and the drift played a big part with the shuttles a lot faster in that match on Wednesday than they had been for the rest of the week.
“So we really struggled to keep the shuttle in the court in the first set and they really came in with a lot of speed and controlled the conditions and us very effectively and just played better than us.
“They were fired up the whole week and they made the most of the home court and to be honest they made the final and for anyone to beat them was a big ask.
“Also I picked up a hip flexor niggle in the mixed on Monday but they were 100% better than us on the day.
“That match has shown us a couple of things we need to sharpen up but it’s also about being at 100% fitness so we won’t dwell on it too much.
“We had been on a decent run of form prior to the worlds and it just wasn’t our week and now we are looking forward to China and Hong Kong.”
In the Mixed Doubles Adam and Julie, who are 40th in the world rankings posted a fine victory in the opening round over 33 ranked Indian duo Rohan Kapoor & Reddy Sikki 21-14, 20-22, 21-18.
It was a victory against an in-form pairing that the Scottish Mixed Doubles champions took real satisfaction from: “The Indian pair have won a couple of Challenge events and are at their highest world ranking and so it was really good for us to get through that.
“They are a tricky pair who don’t let you get into any rhythm and are very effective over the first four shots and Sikki has a forehand serve which is very unusual in badminton these days, so it was a good match to get through.
“That said we were relieved to win as we made a real mess of the second game and were 7-1 and then 19-15 up and in complete control only to let it slip away.
“But when we played well and were in our flow we played really well but were just a bit in and out.”
Next up were Korean world ranked No.6 pairing Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun who prevailed 9-21, 16-21, 15 – 21.
As Adam explained this was an encounter which provided unique challenges: “We were a little bit disappointed not to take that one but they have burst onto the scene since January and are really a top-five pair who play almost like a men’s doubles pair.
“The girl is just so strong from the back of court and so skilled in defence that they play almost a level doubles and although Kim Won Ho wasn’t 100% fit even with that they were just so hard to break down and the hall was a bit slow and in a few moments we lacked mental clarity and got decisions wrong and they punished us.
“Really they were very good at reeling us in and then just countering, but we played them in January and got really hammered by them so this was a big improvement on that.”
No rest for our players as their attention now turns to the China Open (5-10 Sep) and the Hong Kong Open (12-17 Sep).