Gilmour makes hard work of Glasgow win

Kirsty Gilmour kept home hopes alive in the singles at the Scottish International Championships at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow yesterday, but it was far from an easy passage for the Bothwell teenager.

Gilmour, a medallist at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games, needed three games to make it past England’s Kate Robertshaw and into the last 32. The reward for the 21-11, 11-21, 21-17 win is a crunch match against another Englishwoman, Elizabeth Cann, the No 4 seed and the champion in 2008.

Cann is battling Scottish champion Susan Egelstaff for the women’s singles place in Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, and Gilmour is well aware that she could give a helping hand to her fellow countrywoman.

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Egelstaff, at No 31, is 17 spots ahead of Cann in the world rankings but is currently sidelined by a knee injury. The Glasgow 29-year-old is back in training and hopes to make her return to a competitive court in January.

“I could do Susan a big favour tomorrow but, personally, I just want to perform well,” said Gilmour, a film-making student at the University of the West of Scotland.

“This is the first time that I have played Liz and I’m not too worried about winning or losing. It’s all about playing well and, hopefully, that could be good enough.”

Against Robersthaw, Gilmour had her Uncle David – a former internationalist from Hamilton – sitting in the coaching seat, and she admitted it wasn’t her best showing in front of a home crowd. “So scrappy” was how she summed it up.

The deciding game was close – Gilmour was irked early on when her opponent clearly hit the net with her racket but was still awarded the point – but the home favourite won four points in a row from 17-all.

“Kate has been injured so I think the pressure told in the end,” said the winner. “But coping with close situations is not usually my strong point but I’ve been working with a psychologist and so I’m very pleased to come through.”

In the men’s singles, Scottish Champion Kieran Merrilees faced the No 9 seed in Peter Koukal and lost in 30 minutes, 11-21, 16-21. A quarter-finalist last year, the Glasgow 22-year-old was a little downhearted after losing to the Czech.

“I’ve been training well but today was a bit if a nightmare on court,” admitted Merrilees, who is based with the GB squad at Milton Keynes.

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Calum Menzies, last year’s Scottish champion, came closest to making the second round in the men’s event, going out in three games, 8-21, 21-19, 15-21, to English youngster, Toby Penty.