Badminton ace Chloe Birch is out to turn Scottish dreams into a nightmare when takes on home favourite Kirsty Gilmour in Glasgow today.
Preston-born Birch will be the major underdog when she faces the number one seed at the Scottish Open Grand Prix but, after battling through her first-round match yesterday, she is confident she can cause an upset.
Gilmour is under pressure to win in her home city, although she looked nervous in her first match of the week yesterday against France’s Delphine Lansac before winning in straight sets.
And Birch, 22, is ready to take advantage out any pressure on her shoulders ahead of the contest.
“I am playing Kirsty, it is her home tournament and I don’t have anything to lose. I am going to go up there and give it my best,” she said.
“I always like playing as the underdog, it is a lot easier to play when you are not expected to win. I will go out and give it everything tomorrow and I think Kirsty might suffer with nerves.
“It is her home tournament the pressure is on her a bit. It is a different environment and she has played in this tournament many times so she has the experience to deal with it but we will see.
“It will be a very good game.”
Birch also had to wrestle for control in her first-round match against Ireland’s Rachael Darragh.
The 2016 English National runner-up claimed the first game 21-14 and seemed in charge of the second before she faltered slightly.
Darragh took advantage and almost nicked it, but Birch held her nerve to close it out 23-21 at the Emirates Arena.
“I am glad to come through it and I am glad to win it, the first round can often be the toughest game,” she added.
“It was my first match of the week and I don’t think I played my best badminton. She played very well to be fair and challenged me a lot in the second set but luckily I just did not enough to hang on.
“It did get a little bit tight and nerves and tension started to kick in, but that can happen in the early rounds.
“It is hard when you have not had a hit in the arena so I felt behind the curve on that so I struggled but once I got into it, it was okay.
“Getting my feet sorted was a big problem, I was not as quick in that second game as I would have liked but she played some good shots.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR - The Scottish Open Grand Prix is being hosted at the Emirates Arena by BADMINTONscotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate. Tickets are on sale at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk or at the Emirates Arena box office.