Gilmour back in Brno for title defence
Date: 9/24/2013 8:55 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour returns to Brno this week to defend the title that she won in 2012. Last year’s victory proved to be a career milestone for the young Scott as her first International Challenge success provided the platform for her meteoric rise up the world rankings. The 12 months following Gilmour has established herself as one of the best singles players on the European circuit.

Last year’s victory did not come as a huge surprise as Gilmour had won the Polish International just a few weeks previous but a year on the Scot is now earmarked as one to beat and a victory over the current world 35 is a scalp that most circuit players have on their list of things to do this week in Brno.

With the travelling Chinese Taipei party still enjoying their European tour the task for Gilmour is altogether a more difficult challenge than last year. However as number 3 seed the Scot sits in the better half of the draw with possibly the more dangerous of the Taipei players in the bottom half.

Kristina Gavnholt was Gilmour’s victim in last year’s final and the Danish based Czech player will look to recapture the title she won in 2011. Newly nationalised French star Sashina Vignes Waran will look to kick start her season as she builds towards her first French Open Super Series as a fully-fledged French national.

Koukal fighting to be fit

Top seed Petr Koukal comes into his home international on the back of an injury scare that has kept him off the competitive court since the world championships in China at the beginning of August. Add to the mix a likely second round match up with Taiwanese power house Lin Yu Hsein, the winner in Poland last week, and the enormity of the challenge facing Koukal becomes clear. Indeed if Koukal was successful against Lin then a quarter final match against Polish runner up Wang awaits which might be a step to far for a player with little or no competitive action for almost two months.

If there is going to be a threat to the Chinese Taipei challenge it may well come from Eetu Heino. The Finnish number 2 is one of the most improved players on the circuit and in the last 12 months has taken giants steps forward which culminated in his win at the White nights back in June.

Hat Trick opportunity for Bankier & Nedelcheva

The upper echelons of the women’s doubles has a very Scottish flavour to the seeding as Kirsty Gilmour partners Jillie Cooper who attempts to re-establish herself after a long summer break through injury. The Scots, top seeds this year in Brno, were runners up last year and if the ‘A’ game makes the trip to Brno they will once again feature in the medals.

The biggest threat to Gilmour & Cooper comes from good friend Imogen Bankier and her partner Petya Nedelcheva. In fact the Scottish/Bulgarian duo are going for a hat trick of titles after victories in Ukraine & Belgium and on form they are the pair to beat. The favourites will also have to fend off both Chinese Taipei finalists from Poland last week with Bankier & Nedelcheva scheduled to meet Lee & Fu as early as the quarter finals.

Home court pressure for top seeded mixed doubles

Jakub Bitman and Betty Basova have the weight of expectation on their shoulders as top seeds for their home international. The pair, who as individuals have also being dabbling in singles this season, have the formidable challenge of trying to lift their home title.

Once again the main opposition for all the European mixed pairings will come from Chinese Taipei as both finalists from Poland will take to the courts after the short transfer from Lubin and do not be surprised to see some Asian athletes filling the podium once again this week in Brno.

Badminton Europe will be live in Brno all week with action from qualification day live on our YouTube channel starting Thursday. To subscribe and watch for free click HERE

For tournament draw click HERE

Article by Mark Phelan. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.
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