Less than a year ago Hans-Kristian Vittinghus was enjoying the best spell of badminton in his career. A trip to the Destination Dubai Super Series final and a world ranking of number 9 had the Dane looking ahead to 2015 with optimism.
Little did Vittinghus know that 2015 would ultimately prove to be the most challenging year of his career as he slipped down the world rankings and has endured an injury sustained in the US Open Grand Prix final against Lee Chong Wei which has marred his season since.
That was until today however, as today proved to be one of those ‘remember for the rest of your life days’ with Vittinghus not only climbing the top step of the Scottish Open GP podium but did it by beating an opponent that he has struggled against in the past, that player being England’s Rajiv Ouseph.
After trading the opening games it was Ouseph who got out of the blocks quickest in the deciding set to lead 4-1. Vittinghus regroup after loosing focus to level it up at 8-8 and the Dane went on a run of 6 unanswered points to put daylight between himself and Ouseph a gap that the Englishman was not going to close.
Vittinghus fell to his knees (pictured) on sealing the title 21-16 and the relief was palpable after a season that would have broken any other player.
“It has been a terrible year. After the Super Series finals and being in the world’s top 10 I was looking forward to a run at Olympic qualification as only two Danes will go to Rio. I didn’t manage to live up to my own expectations this year and the injury in US final only made things worse” said Vittinghus.
The Dane will now take some time off to receive an injection in his injured foot and winning in Glasgow is his just desserts for never quitting.
“This is a great feeling. I needed to perform well her to keep myself in the main draw of Super Series in 2016. I can now take the time off to mend and hopefully come back fresh in 2016 and I will savour this for a long time”
Calmness, Patience and Self Belief the key to Kjaersfeldt’s success
In five meetings Line Kjaersfeldt has only beaten Kirsty Gilmour once and coincidentally it was in Scotland in 2011. Two much more mature women took to the court today for the women’s singles final and the Dane finally got that long awaited win over Gilmour to lift her first Grand Prix title.
In a break from the norm it was Gilmour who got off to the best start taking the opening game and it all looked good for a home singles win, something that Gilmour has been craving over the past few years.
At 15-15 in the second game the home fans, of which there were thousands in the arena, smelt victory but the Dane like Vittinghus before her kept composed and only lost 1 more point in that game to level with a 21-16 win.
The third game was extremely tight, well at least up until 16-16. From there it was Kjaersfeldt who seized her opportunity and took the title in three games after being the outstanding performer this week in Glasgow.
“Kirsty has always been a tough opponent for me. She has beaten me the last three times so this win today is extremely satisfying” said a happy Line Kjaersfeldt. “I have really believed in myself this week and I have stayed calm and patient when I needed to.”
Magic hands help Fuchs & Schoettler to first major title.
Germany’s Michael Fuchs and Johannes Schoettler claimed the first major title of their partnership and owe it all to the German team physio and man Fuchs says has magic hands. Fuchs sustained an injury in the opening match and thought his tournament had ended in the opening round but this week the German’s had their team physio with them and for Michael Fuchs it was a godsend.
Thanks to the physio Fuchs was able to come out fighting each day and their persistence paid off lifting the men’s doubles title with a two game win over Ellis & Mills of England.
“If it were not for the magic hands of our physio I would not be here. Somehow he was able to patch me up and get me out on court each day and now Johannes and I have won our first big title together. I certainly cannot thank him enough for his work this week” said Fuchs.
There was disappointment for Barning & Tabeling in the women’s doubles as Irish Tabeling went down in the second game with an injured calf to hand victory to Fukushima and Hirota of Japan.
Elsewhere Russian’s Durkin and Vislova continued their recent good run of form as they lifted the mixed doubles title which sets them well on the way to qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
For all the finals results from the Scottish Open GP click HERE
To watch all the matches on demand via Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Glasgow)