Kieran Merrilees wins first round in Scottish Open Grand Prix

Holly Newall, faces  fifth seed Mia Blichfeldt in the first round of the main draw today. Picture: Lorraine Hill

Holly Newall, faces fifth seed Mia Blichfeldt in the first round of the main draw today. Picture: Lorraine Hill

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Kieran Merrilees, the four-time National Champion, eased through the opening round in the men’s singles at the Scottish Open Grand Prix at Glasgow’s Emirates 
Arena.

The 27-year-old Scot was up against qualifier Yuehang Wang, who represents England and had knocked out Scotland’s 15-year-old Matthew Grimley in the final round of qualifying.

Merrilees, the long-time Scottish No 1 in men’s singles, and currently standing at a career high world No 64, was an easy winner, taking the final six points in a row in a 21-11, 21-10 victory.

Having missed the Scottish Nationals earlier this year due to a serious hand injury – he broke a glass and gashed a tendon – Merrilees is enjoying a great season and is seeded to make the last 16 this week.

Ben Torrance was the first Scot in action in the main draw. But the Prestwick youngster lost out 13-21, 14-21 to Poland’s Mateusz Dubowski.

Matthew Carder, the Scottish Champion, was another Scot to clear the opening hurdle. He dropped the first four points, but recovered to beat Austrian Rudiger Gnedt 21-16, 21-15.

Motherwell youngster Alex Dunn came close to joining Merrilees in the second round, pushing England’s Alex Marritt to three close games.

The Scottish teenager came from 17-19 to win the second game and was tied 8-8 in the decider. But he then lost four points on the trot and was defeated 15-21, 21-19, 17-21.

Scotland’s Holly Newall won the Czech Junior Open on Sunday, and the victory helped propel the teenager through the two rounds of qualifying in the women’s singles. The 18-year-old from Mauchline, who has reached finals at the Scottish National Championships, lost out in the final 
qualifying a year ago, but there was no problem this time round as she swept though in straight games and upset the seedings.

Newall started her campaign by beating Scotland junior squad team-mate Toni Woods of Falkirk 21-14, 21-15 and then overcame the fourth qualifying seed Paige Butler of England 21-18, 21-19.

The two wins earned her the prospect of a first-round clash this afternoon against Denmark’s fifth seed Mia Blichfeldt.

“It was my one big aim to get to the main draw this year,” said Newall.

“The win in the Czech Republic was the perfect preparation.”

Glasgow’s 16-year-old Christopher Grimley, a European Junior medallist, showed his terrific promise by getting through the men’s singles qualifying.

He defeated Kit Clement-Dawson of England 21-9, 21-14 then overcame David King 21-16, 21-13 and admitted: “I honestly didn’t expect to win.”

But there was disappointment for Christopher and twin brother Matthew in the men’s doubles. They won through two rounds of qualifiers then claimed a scalp in the main draw 12 months ago.

But this time the Glasgow School of Sport boys went out in straight games – 15-21, 16-21 – to China’s Li Jinqui and Liu Zerun in the opening qualifying tie.

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