Kirsty Gilmour made a steady start to her quest for a first Scottish Open Grand Prix women’s singles title at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow yesterday.
On the second day of the championships, the 24-year-old was the only Scot left in the singles events, and she carried a huge weight of expectation on her shoulders.
Seeded No 1 and aiming to improve on her two previous runner-up finishes, the Commonwealth Games medallist did not make the most inspired of starts against Delphine Lansac.
The French player made a real nuisance of herself and forged ahead at 7-5 and reached the interval 11-9 in front.
But Gilmour, a quarter-finalist at the summer’s Total BWF World Championships at the Emirates, didn’t panic. She battled back to draw level at 14-all and then won five point in a row to take the opening game 21-16.
With the first one in the bag, the second game was much more comfortable both for Gilmour and her fans. She romped through the points to take it 21-9.
“It’s always so good to get the first game under your belt, get some rhythm and feel the hall,” said Gilmour after the testing encounter.
“Delphine always puts up a good fight, I was so ready for a scrap there but I think I sussed her out in the first and that led to more momentum in the second.
“I wanted to just keep it close and not panic, Delphine’s a player who will go up and hit some great shots.
“You just have to be ready and willing to accept that, you can’t get annoyed at yourself if your opponent hits good shots.
“I’m just really happy I managed to soak it all up, it was a really good atmosphere today and that’s going to build throughout the week.
“I’ll just fly the flag for Scotland as I always do, any time I put a Scotland top on I just love it. I love to play badminton, it’s pretty cool that this is my job.”
In the men’s singles, Karan Rajan Rajarajan’s shock first round win over Scottish seed, Kieran Merrilees, was followed by another impressive win and a place in the last 16.
The unseeded Indian fought back from a game down to oust Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne 10-21, 21-18, 21-18.
In an all-Scottish mixed doubles tie, Adam Hall and Ciara Torrance took the honours with a surprisingly comprehensive 21-6, 21-18 win over Martin Campbell and Julie MacPherson.
Also through to the last 16 in the mixed are brother and sister, Ciar and Caitlin Pringle. Having come through qualifying, they knocked out England’s Alexander Cook and Zoe King 21-15, 21-15. The Pringles’ dad, Iain, competed for Scotland at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.