Scot Kirsty Gilmour through to European badminton final
On Sunday she will bid to become Scotland’s first European champion, having guaranteed Scotland their first singles medal at a Europeans.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist came back from a game and 18-16 down against Anna Thea Madsen of Denmark to snatch a 58-minute victory on her second match point, going through to the final 17-21 21-18 21-19.
And the winning point couldn’t have been dramatic as for once one of her diving efforts got over the net to keep the rally alive and then she produced the winning cross shot to secure her place in tomorrow’s final against title holder and double World champion Carolina Marin.
For two games it was a scrappy contest but the decider was high drama with a big section of the packed crowd roaring on Gilmour. She trailed 11-9 at the interval in the decider but hit back at her preferred end by winning six of the next seven points to put daylight between her and Madsen at 15-12.
Four times the unseeded 2014 silver medallist closed to within a point but determined Gilmour just wouldn’t let her get level and after what she described as “a crazy final point” she fell to the floor in celebration before pointing at coach Chris Bruil then taking a running jump into his arms.
She said: “I feel happy, feel relief, I feel excited, tired all of those things. I am just delighted. Remaining calm on court not getting ahead of myself, not thinking too much was the key.”
Of her dive on the second match point she said: “It’s Just reflexes, it’s not something I train or something I plan at all. It’s survival – and It comes with bumps and bruises. I was delighted to get that last point but I think I broke my heart rate monitor in the process.”
She certainly broke Madsen’s heart and now faces Marin in the final, which also happens to be the final women’s singles match in the year-long Olympic qualifying campaign. Win or lose, the ranking points she will gain should lift her back into the world’s top 20.
Gilmour’s win and Marin’s victory over Scottish Open Grand Prix winner Line Kjaersfeldt put paid to Denmark’s bid for all five gold medals. They began the day guaranteed 11 medals but they are ensured gold in the mixed doubles as it is an all-Danish final.
Marin defeated Kjaersfeldt 23-21 21-15 despite a shoulder scare in the first game when she called for the doctor.
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “This is a fabulous performance by Kirsty and all of Scotland will be rooting for her tomorrow. I am delighted for her and it’s a fitting reward for all her hard work.”