Evans aiming for boost on homecoming

IRELAND’S Scott Evans is hoping that his return to home soil can inspire him to a successful run at this weekend’s Yonex Irish International Championships in Lisburn.

Based in Copenhagen since the start of January, the Dublin teenager has seen his world ranking slip from 88 to 95 in recent months after an indifferent spell brought on by the rigours of a long season.

Though his form seemed to return last month when he reached the last eight of the Scottish Open, a fatigued Evans was hugely disappointed to go out in the first round of the Wales Open last weekend.

“It’s not my game, it’s a mental thing,” the Dundrum man said from Lisburn yesterday. “I’ve had a full year of it now and I’m just losing a bit of focus. I came home just a week before the Scottish Open, which helped me to perform a bit better in Scotland.

“In Wales I was just a bit tired. I let a few decisions get to me. It was a game I should never have lost.

“It’s very difficult living out of a bag and checking in in different airports every week.

“I’ve got to go to Rome on Monday morning at seven o’clock and then it’s back to Denmark for a team match the next week.”

The plan is to take a two-week break in Dublin over Christmas, after which he will decide whether to spend the early part of the New Year training at home or back in Denmark.

For now, his concentration is firmly on the upcoming events at the National Badminton Centre in Lisburn where he will be part of an eight-member Irish squad playing Scotland and Wales in a Triangular tournament today prior to the Yonex tomorrow afternoon.

Evans’ first match today is against Scotland’s Craig Goddard, who eliminated him in Wales, so motivation will certainly not be a factor.

Defeated 3-2 by both their Celtic neighbours 12 months ago, Ireland will be favourites to beat a young Welsh side this morning and set up a series decider against the Scots this evening.

The highlight will be the women’s doubles between Ireland’s Chloe Magee and Huan Bing and the Scots pair of Emma Mason and Imogen Bankier, who beat the Irish duo in the recent Norwegian Open.

Magee and Bing will also be hoping for success in the Yonex Championships, which will feature 168 players from 26 countries. The Irish pair have reached three women’s doubles finals in recent months and are seeded seventh this weekend.

They are ranked 71 in the world and 24 in Europe, but the favourites will be the top seeds, Dutch pair Rachel van Cutsen and Paulien van Dooremalen.

Evans will be hoping to recapture the form he showed in Scotland where he lost narrowly in the quarter-finals to Welsh international Zhu Min. Andrew Dabeka and Bobby Milroy of Canada head the seedings in the men’s singles.

Irish squad for Triangular International: Scott Evans, Donal O’Halloran, Mark Topping, Sam Magee, Chloe Magee, Huang Bing, Lisa Lynas and Dona Scott.

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