Kirsty Gilmour will have to overcome some strong opposition if she is to retain her women’s singles crown at the EventScotland-supported Scottish Open Badminton Championships, to be held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow from 21-25 November 2018.
The Scot is the third seed in a high quality women’s singles draw behind China’s rising star Cai Yanyan and 2015 champion Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark while Chen Xiaoxin, also of China, is seeded fourth.
But the women’s singles is not the only event which has attracted a high quality entry with various World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European medallists preparing to travel to Glasgow.
In the women’s singles the Chinese top seed has struggled to recapture the form which propelled her to win the Macau Open title and a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships late last year, but a run to the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open last week and some good performances in this week’s French Open means she should be high in confidence when she arrives in Glasgow.
Kjaersfeldt, who beat Gilmour in the final of the 2015 event, has been in superb form recently. She reached the final of the Chinese Taipei Open where only a close three game loss to World No. 1 Tai Tze Ying denied her the title and her run to the quarter-finals of last week’s Denmark Open helped her rise a further three places in this week’s rankings to No.20 in the world.
Despite losing to the Dane in 2015 Gilmour can be confident in her ability to upset the seeding having won five of her eight encounters with Kjaersfeldt, although she has never previously faced either of the Chinese players.
Gilmour has already scored some superb wins this year over higher ranked opposition and will be hoping to recapture the form which saw her win Commonwealth bronze in April and beat former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon and former Commonwealth Champion Michelle Li on her way to the quarter-finals of the Korea Open last month.
The men’s singles line-up is headed by Rasmus Gemke, the latest in a long line of exciting young Danish talent.
He has already enjoyed success this season having won the Barcelona Spain Masters and is in the middle of an impressive run in the French Open this week.
Second seed Brice Leverdez won the Scottish Open in 2013 and although he is now 32 he is still capable of causing some major upsets against the world’s best players, as he showed when he caused arguably the shock of the tournament at last year’s World Championships, beating Lee Chong Wei in the first round.
Frenchman Leverdez also won a bronze medal at the European Championships in April while Mark Caljouw, the third seed from the Netherlands, has already beaten Gemke this year in the final of the Orleans Masters.
Two-time former champion and current European silver and Commonwealth bronze medallist Raj Ouseph of England, seeded fourth, is another player who should not be discounted while his compatriot and reigning champion Toby Penty is seeded sixth.
In the men’s doubles Olympic bronze medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England are top seeds.
They are a pair in form, having reached the semi-finals of the recent Denmark Open and they will be keen to win their first Scottish Open title together but defending champions and second seeds Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling of the Netherlands will provide some stiff competition.
The women’s doubles draw features gold, silver and bronze medallists from this year’s European Championships.
Bulgaria’s European Champions Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva, currently No.11 in the world, will start as favourites with European silver medallists Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran of France seeded third.
The second seeds will be Dutch duo Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen who lost out to the French pair in the semi-finals of the Europeans, but they know what it takes to win in Glasgow having won the women’s doubles title last year.
In the mixed doubles English pair Ellis and Lauren Smith are the top seeds and will be high in confidence. They are going strongly in this week’s French Open and have already won the Dutch and Canadian Open titles this year as well as a European bronze medal.
Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, who won the Swiss Open and also won European bronze, are seeded second with reigning champions Jacco Arends and Piek of the Netherlands seeded third.
Commenting on today’s seeding lists Badminton Scotland chief executive Keith Russell said: “Last year’s champions in all five events will return to Glasgow this year but the quality is so high that none of them will be defending their title as top seeds.
“Indeed, last year’s women’s singles champion Kirsty Gilmour is third seed and reigning men’s singles champion Toby Penty is seeded sixth.
“We have players who have medalled at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic level, many of those within the last twelve months and I’m delighted the event has attracted athletes of such a high calibre.
“It should be a fantastic five days of badminton and the fans at the Emirates Arena are in for some spectacular action.”
Tickets are on sale at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk.