SCOTT EVANS HOPES to build on his post-Olympics bounce when he returns home for the Carlton Irish Open this weekend.
Evans, the top seed in the men’s draw, begins his singles quest against Maxime Michel of France later this morning (11.55am) while Irish badminton’s other Olympian, Chloe Magee, is also in action on day two in Baldoyle.
Since losing to world number one Lin Dan in the first round in London, Evans has hit form and risen from 76th to 59th in the rankings.
Dan went on to take gold again, cementing his superstar status as a two-time Olympic champion, while Evans decided it was time for a change. He parted ways with long-term coach Jim Laugesen and moved his training base from Copenhagen to England to work with Kenneth Jonassen, Team GB head coach.
The switch has coincided with some good results including a run into the main draw of the Denmark Open, where he beat a former world top 10 in Joachim Persson and only narrowly lost out to world number 19 Wing Ki Wong, as well as the personal milestone of reaching his first Grand Prix Gold quarter-final in Bitburger.
Now back on home soil, nothing less than a place in the semi-finals will be good enough this weekend.
“There’s a lot more pressure on me this weekend,” the Dubliner says when asked about his only previous meeting with Michel, a win at the Portuguese International earlier this year.
I’m number one seed, it’s my home tournament. I was a bit sick last week so I haven’t been 100% which is unfortunate, but I’m still looking forward to playing.
If I lose before the semi-finals, I’ll be very, very disappointed.
In the mixed doubles, Chloe Magee and brother Sam face Floris Oleffe and Steffi Annys in the first round at 10.20am.
And Magee will be back on court again this afternoon when she faces qualifier Jelske Snoeck in the first round of the women’s singles at 1.05pm. Snoeck beat Sonia Goncalves 12-21 21-9 21-11 yesterday.
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