ROBERT BLAIR and Imogen Bankier were today named as mixed doubles top seeds as they look to retain their Scottish Open Grand Prix title at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena later this month. The Commonwealth bronze medallists, who won the same Scottish Open title in 2007, fill top spot in the seedings ahead of Germany pair Max Schwenger and Carla Nelte and Peter Käsbauer and Isabel Herttrich.
Blair, who is the oldest member of the Scotland squad at 33, will be bidding for his fifth mixed doubles title having also won in 2001 and 2002. He also won the men’s doubles in 2007.
Scotland also fill the top seeding in the women’s singles where Commonwealth Games silver medallist Kirsty Gilmour (pictured) is aiming to go one better than last November when she finished runner-up to Spain’s new world champion Carolina Marin.
Gilmour, who is 21, may have to overcome another Spanish star if she is to lift the singles title as Beatriz Corrales is the No. 2 seed. However, Gilmour defeated her in last year’s semi-finals, having defeated this year’s third seed Linda Zetchiri of Bulgaria in the quarters.
Gilmour will have to wait till the draw later this week to learn whether Zetchiri is in her half or whether it is fourth seed Karin Schnasse, the German who knocked her out of the Word Championships in August.
But Gilmour is also seeded in the women’s doubles with Bankier. They are third seeds behind recent Swiss International winners Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva of Bulgaria and German pair Nelte and Johanna Goliszewski.
In the men’s singles Kieran Merrilees again carries Scotland’s hopes but the three-times National champion has missed out on a seeding in a strong entry. Dutchman Eric Pang, who has yet to lift the men’s singles title, is top seed with Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen seeded second after reaching the final last year.
Germany’s Dieter Domke is third seed while Ville Lang, Finland’s 2006 winner, is fourth seed and India’s Anand Pawar, the 2010 and 2012 winner, is at No.7.
In the men’s doubles Blair will partner Scottish Under 19 triple champion Adam Hall while Paul Van Rietvelde teams up with England’s Chris Coles. Both pairs are unseeded but Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh are unlucky to miss out on a seeding.
The top seeds are Baptiste Careme and Ronan Labar and the French pair are aiming to take a second Scottish Open title home to France following the success last year of men’s singles winner Brice Leverdez. Their biggest rivals will be Belgian second seeds Matijs Dierickx and Freek Golinski but Germany will be title challengers with three pairs seeded.
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said today: “We have attracted another strong line-up and it is a credit to our top players that we have managed to achieve two top seedings.
“What we want now is for Scotland fans to get behind our players like they did at the Commonwealth Games so we can live up to those seedings and reward the fans with two more titles.
“We are delighted to be showcasing another top-class badminton event at the Emirates Arena but we couldn’t have done it without the strong support of Glasgow City Council, Event Scotland and Yonex.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “It is fantastic that Imogen and Robert have been positioned as the mixed doubles top seeds and Kirsty the women’s singles top seed for the upcoming Scottish Open Grand Prix – which once again offers a very strong line-up.
“After what has been an incredible summer for sport in Glasgow the Grand Prix promises to be one of the next top sporting events for Scotland. The five day competition will be a fantastic opportunity to watch the three Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games medallists, Imogen, Robert and Kirsty, in the very same facility - Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.”
Tickets are still available for the Scottish Open Grand Prix which stars on Wednesday, November 19 with qualifying in men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and mixed doubles with the men’s singles first round taking place in the evening session. Play continues daily through to the finals on Sunday, November 23 (two finals in the morning and three in the afternoon).
Go to www.badmintonscotland.org.uk and click on Scottish Open Grand Prix to book tickets and view schedules and any other information about the Championships.
THE SEEDINGS FOR THE 2014 SCOTTISH OPEN GRAND PRIX
1 Eric Pang (Ned)
2 Henri Hurskainen (Swe)
3 Dieter Domke (Ger)
4 Ville Lång (Fin)
5 Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (Ina)
6 Rasmus Fladberg (Den)
7 Anand Pawar (Ind)
8 Joachim Persson (Den)
9 Emil Holst (Den)
1 Kirsty Gilmour (Sco)
2 Beatriz Corrales (Spa)
3 Linda Zetchiri (Bul)
4 Karin Schnaase (Ger)
5 Kaori Imabeppu (Jpn)
6 Sashina Vignes Waran (Fra)
7 Natalia Perminova (Rus)
8 Anna Thea Madsen (Den)
Article by Peter Dean. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.