SCOTTISH OPEN 2015 SF – Russian recovery steals the show

Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova played the game of their lives as they recovered from 17-10 down but will face another French pair in the final, Labar and Lefel improving […]

Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova played the game of their lives as they recovered from 17-10 down but will face another French pair in the final, Labar and Lefel improving to hand Isabel Herttrich her second loss for the day.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Glasgow.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archive).

Rajiv Ouseph (pictured left) returned to winning ways at the Emirates arena, setting up a final against Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittingus as he beat the Dane’s Team skaelskoer slagelse compatriot Kim Bruun.

“I knew he would be dangerous,” said Ouseph.  “I’ve not really seen him play too much but he’s had some good results this week so I knew he could be a dangerous opponent. In the first set I maybe let him play his own game a little bit too much but in the second I imposed my game on to him.”

He was not alone in running out the comfortable winner though, as Vittinghus pressured Estonian Raul Must from the off, with the result never looking in doubt.

“Yeah I felt like I had a really good start where my defence was working right from the beginning and I think that made Raul very frustrated, it was hard for him to find any way to make winners,” said Vittinghus.  “I think you could see that in his game because he started making a lot of easy mistakes and I think that great start really gave me a lot of confidence and ground him down a bit.”

With one All-Danish final averted, it was left to home favourite Kirsty Gilmour (pictured right) to prevent a second after Beatriz Corrales looked strangely out of sorts against Line Kjaersfeldt. Line will have it all to do with a usually vocal Glaswegian crowd, but she feels no added pressure, saying:

“I think that the pressure is on her if she wins against [Ana] Maria and maybe that can make her a little bit nervous as she will want to prove herself on the home court.”

Gilmour had a tougher match, but came through in her customary three games, and as ever could see the lighter side to her on-court antics: “She had her running shoes on today, I don’t know, maybe it was a little bit of nerves, just maybe it is flying a bit differently in here to day but I’m glad I finally managed to get a hold on it, it was scrappy, not my best badminton.”

In a theme than ran throughout the day, an all-French final was only narrowly avoided by an incredible comeback from Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova (pictured left), fighting back from 17-10 down in the third, they took the game and the match in extra points.

“I think we were ready to lose when we were down 17-10. We just said try to play, try to get some points because there was no more emotion. There are not so many matches you can win from there.  But when we got a couple of points we started to believe we could win the match and then we started to struggle.

If you are finishing matches like this you are getting more confident, it gives you a good feeling when you can win this way.”

They will have their work cut out for them though as French pair Ronan Labar and Emilie Lefel fought hard to run away with the third game to hand Isabel Herttrich her second loss for the day. They also set up yet another encounter with the Russians.

“We have a long history with the Russian pair. We have played them many, many times.

It’s really close; the French played really well against them today, maybe they deserved to win but so it was so close, we nearly had the first all French final. We have to focus tomorrow, as it’s important for the Olympic qualification.”

England’s Ellis and Mills fought a tough, and at times petulant, game against Polish third seeds Cwalina and Wacha, but were not put off too much by the gamesmanship and survive to fight the walking wounded tomorrow as they will play Fuchs and Schoettler (pictured right), who beat Ellis and Langridge in a 75 minute encounter to start the day.

“Well we had a really rough period; Johannes had hip surgery a few months ago and we were struggling a bit with our form. We’ve had some really, really good matches the last couple of weeks but didn’t really get a result, came quite close on three or four occasions.”

Obviously happy with the result, but it’s not all been plain sailing for the Germans as earlier in the tournament Fuchs had an injury scare of his own in their first game.

“I pulled a muscle in my left hamstring, I couldn’t walk at all in the third set, he [Johannes] did everything.  Our physio did an amazing job in pulling me through yesterday with four matches and then 75 minutes today. It’s tough.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

About Michael Burke