Kirsty Gilmour turned in another determined display to reach the final of the women’s singles at the European Championships for the second year in a row.
The 2016 silver medallist defeated Switzerland’s sixth seed Sabrina Jaquet 22-20, 21-10 in 40 minutes to book a rematch with double European title-holder and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, the Spaniard who will be bidding to make it a hat-trick of world titles at Glasgow 2017 in August.
Seventh seed Gilmour secured her final place in Kolding, Denmark after a topsy-turvy first game with her Rio Olympics opponent Jaquet. But it is a great achievement considering she had a lengthy lay-off after the Olympics following knee surgery.
Gilmour trailed for much of the opener but from 12-9 down she surged into a 15-13 lead only for Jaquet to respond with five successive points to lead 18-15 and then 19-16.
Back came Gilmour with a four-point burst to set up game point at 20-19. Jaquet saved the first but Gilmour did not let it slip when she got a second chance. A more determined Gilmour then took charge to open up an early lead in the second game as she moved from 2-2 to 6-2, and then steadily built her advantage, helped by a decisive six-point charge from 14-8 to match point before taking the contest at the third opportunity.
On the adjacent court, Marin beat Danish fourth seed Mette Poulsen 21-17, 21-12 after coming back from 15-11 in the opening game.
Marin may have won last year’s final and holds a 5-1 head-to-head lead over Gilmour but the Scot has beaten her, winning the 2014 Spanish Open final. Gilmour said of yesterday’s win: “I had the momentum and felt more and more confident from winning the first set and as the second progressed but I never lost focus. I know that no match is over until the final point is decided – not even at a ten-point lead.
“Four months after my operation I played my first tournament at the Scottish Nationals and have been on my steady way back ever since.”
As for today’s final she said: “Marin obviously will be tough but I have a plan and will watch some videos of her matches as final preparation.”