The Emirates Arena in Glasgow will once again take centre stage this coming week for this the fourth edition of the Scottish Open Grand Prix. With the Commonwealth Games now but a distant memory this year’s Scottish Open represents a viable opportunity for some of Europe’s best to get accustomed to the Arena that will host the World Championships in 2017.
Defending champions return in three of the five disciplines and while Blair & Bankier, the home grown mixed doubles winners in 2013 & 2014, are no longer a partnership the focus of the home support will fall on the shoulders of singles specialist Kirsty Gilmour (pictured).
Gilmour has had something of a rebirth this season which has seen the Glasgow native climb back up the world rankings to number 20 after wins at the Prague
Opens as well as a season starting runners up spot at the Belgian International to Jin Wei Goh, the Malaysian 15-year-old that this week lifted the World Junior title in Peru.
The Scottish number will one will face a qualifier in round 1 before a second round meeting with 2015 Orleans International winner Natalia Koch Rohde in round two. Gilmour beat the Dane at the recent Bitburger Open so will once again fancy her chances as she eases into the competition.
Corrales, Kjaersfeldt and Schnasse will be the Europeans looking to prevent a home victory for Gilmour and also lurking in the bottom half of the draw is two-time season winner Olga Konon who is now back inside the world’s top 50 with her injury nightmare behind her.
But all things being equal this 2015 edition of the Scottish Open represents Kirsty Gilmour’s best chance ever to grab the limelight from the top step of the podium.
Ville Lang, Scotland’s adopted son.
Finland’s Ville Lang has fond memories of both the Scottish International and the Scottish Open GP as a past winner in both events. The Finn is without doubt a favourite of the Scottish crowd and those who were present at last year’s finals
witnessed one of the great badminton comebacks of all time. A game down and 16-11 and 20-16 down in the second Lang came back to win in three thus cementing his reputation as a firm crowd favourite and an adopted Scottish son.
This season we have seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly from Lang and as ninth seed will surely have a mountain to climb this week in Glasgow but with the backing of the crowd you would not bet against the Lang going back to back in Glasgow.
Surprisingly we have not seen a Danish singles winner of the Scottish International or Scottish Open in recent years but this year might be the year to change all that as established Super Series player Hans Kristian Vittinghus steps back to take on the challenge at Grand Prix Level.
It has been a tough season for one of badminton nicest sons with a runners up spot at the US Open
the highlight so far for the Dane. Lucas Corvee of France represents a stiff test for Vittinghus in the opening round. Both met at the 2014 European Championships with the Frenchman pushing Vittinghus in two tight games. Vittinghus comes to Glasgow with a single-minded goal as he looks to end 2015 on a high.
“I'm playing Scottish Open with one goal - to gain some ranking points. I've had a really poor year and I'm struggling a lot with a complex injury in my right heel, so I don't feel ready to compete at Superseries level currently. But as I'm in big need of points to stay in the Superseries main draws next year, Scottish Open is a perfect opportunity for me to hopefully end my year on a more positive note. I don't expect to play my best at all, but I will give everything and I'm excited to visit Scotland for the first time as I've heard so many positive things about both the tournament and Glasgow.”
Vittinghus should have the armoury to correct the statistic and put a Danish name amongst the modern day winners of the Scottish Open but Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph and if you are looking to an outside bet pencil in the name of Raul Must as a likely protagonist, the Estonian has been in sparkling form this year in Europe this season.
Daugaard & Christiansen the Danes with much to prove.
2014 was a memorable year for the emerging Danish duo Mathias Christiansen and David Daugaard. Winning the Scottish Open Grand Prix was certainly the highlight and this year the Danes are back with a lot to prove. While consistent Daugaard and Christiansen have not added to their 2014 Scottish victory and many would like to see them climb the top step of the podium this week coming in Glasgow.
It is Olympic qualification year and with that comes added pressure and added competition. Indian Duo Reddy and Attri continue their Olympic quest as top seeds while English pairs Mills/Ellis and Langridge/Ellis are overdue some success.
As always Cwalina and Wacha will be on the hunt for every available ranking points while Germany will have certain claims on the podium with Fuchs/Schoettler and Beck/Kaesbauer.
Defending champions, the Stoeva Sister head up the field in the women’s doubles and will certainly have benefited from some time at home since the Bitbuger Open while Fuchs & Michels top the seeding in the mixed doubles and will be thankful to see Poland’s Mateusiak and Zieba in the opposite half of the draw. While seeded only 5 the Poles will be hot favourites to lift the title on their march up the world rankings.
All the action kicks off on Wednesday with qualification rounds in all but the women’s doubles. All the action from court one will be live on BEtv YouTube
channel with full commentary from the first shuttle up to and including the quarter finals.
To watch all the LIVE action click HERE
For full draws from the 2015 Scottish Open Grand Prix click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe.