LONDON GPG 2013 QF – Impressive home performances

Early on in the quarter-finals, home chances saw Kirsty Gilmour, Rajiv Ouseph and mixed pair Chris Langridge and Heather Olver all progress in straight games. By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, […]

Early on in the quarter-finals, home chances saw Kirsty Gilmour, Rajiv Ouseph and mixed pair Chris Langridge and Heather Olver all progress in straight games.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from London.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat for Badmintonphoto (live).

Kirsty Gilmour (pictured left) continued her rich vein of form, as she overcame Sayaka Sato of Japan, who had looked very strong early in the tournament when she put out second seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.

Sato (pictured right at the Olympics last year), who endured a nightmare the last time she played in London, retiring when 15-11 up against Tine Baun of Denmark, played with heavy strapping on her knee from the same injury.  Fortunately, the result of this match was only reminiscent of that Olympic campaign in that Sato had trouble with a  Scottish player and that she exited earlier than she’d hoped.

Gilmour sent an early sign as she took the first five points of the match unanswered, taking a 11-5 lead into the mid-game interval. A step slower on court, Sato looked less threatening in attack and struggled to work her way into the game.

Gilmour had to fight harder early on in the second game, but her solid defence brought out frustration in Sato’s game, as she often was too hasty with her kill shots. Gilmour eventually took the match comfortably 21-17, 21-10.

Speaking after the match, Gilmour said, “I’m playing really well. I’m really happy with how I’m playing. I’m being quite patient and all of the things I’ve been working on over the summer are starting to come together.”

“I’m over the moon. I watched a few videos and really got my tactics sorted out and managed to implement them really well,” said Gilmour.

Recently Badminton Scotland has seen a resurgence in form after the likes of Susan Egelstaff retired. Gilmour trains at a club in France, and commented how this has helped improve, in particular, the consistency of her game.

“We have a good group of us now playing in France.  My partner Jillie [Cooper] moved from Germany to play there, and we have the likes of Imogen Bankier, a World Championship medallist, with us and generally a good squad with a really high level. Being able to play at a higher level every day has reaped rewards for my game.”

England’s Rajiv Ouseph (pictured left) also came through comfortably today beating Malaysia’s Zulfadli Zulkiffli in straight gamess. Calm on court, Rajiv played rapid shots to outpace his opponent.

Aided by his long reach, a solid defence drew mistakes from Zulkiffli and Ouseph, supported by a sizeable local crowd won by the scoreline 21-14, 21-13.

Ouseph spoke of the win, saying “I knew quite a lot about him.  Obviously he knew about me as well. At the beginning, I just tried to wear him out a bit. He came out quite quickly, as I expected him to, and it was just a case of wearing him down.

“The length of the match and how quickly I played told in the end, and I was able to win quite a few points at the end of both games, so I was very happy with that.”

He was also subdued about his chances going on, as in the next round he comes up against the current Australian Open champion.

“The guy [Tian Houwei] who beat Jorgensen is playing well, and they have high hopes for him in China, so it’s going to be a tough match tomorrow, so I’ll just rest up tonight and see how it goes tomorrow.”

The home crowd was treated to another solid performance in a very tight mixed match between England’s Chris Langridge and Heather Olver (pictured right) against Germans Schwenger/Nelte. The entire game was close with the pairs rarely separated by more than a few points.

A solid and patient defence from Langridge and Olver saw them overcome the Germans, coming from behind to take the second game.

“It was a bit of an edgy one, we had never played the pair before, and we knew from their last match in the tournament that they play well, and to be fair, they played well today.”

After the match, Chris commented on their style of play, “We are obviously at times a bit of a scrappy pair, we like to get things back and that definitely played in our favour today.”

“Heather defended brilliantly today, so even though we weren’t really playing tactically at our best today, we still managed to come through.”

Speaking particularly about this new tournament and having another opportunity to play in front of a home crowd, Chris said, “100% it helps, even when it’s not been that full the crowd support has been great.”

Heather added, “We’re both from the South so it’s really nice to get to play down here and we’re just really glad we’ve got two high quality tournaments now in England.”

The full results for the day can be found here.


About Michael Burke