BY CHRIS MCNULTY
RAPHOE woman Chloe Magee is relishing the prospect of facing off with three players from above her in the world rankings at this week’s Irish Open.
The 100th Irish Open gets underway in Baldoyle this morning. Today sees the qualifying rounds, with Magee, the fourth seed, not in action until tomorrow, when she will square up to one of those qualifiers.
Among those in the mix are Spaniard Carolina Marin, the world number 18, as well as in-form Scot Kirsty Gilmour, the world number 29, and Beatriz Corrales, another Spaniard who is the world number 29.
“Every year this is the one I want to win,” Magee told the Donegal News.
“There are three tough girls in the draw. They don’t usually come over for this, but this year the tournament is up a grade and there is more prize money. This year the field is a lot stronger. It will be a really good standard.
“I’ll have to have my best badminton with me from the very start. I have to be focussed from the very beginning.”
Magee has previous with some of this week’s prospective opponents.
Last year, Magee defeated Corrales 21-18, 21-23, 21-12 in the semi-final, but was tripped up by Denmark’s Lina Kjaersfeldt in the final. Kjaersfeldt is also back to defend her title and is in as the seventh seed.
Magee recently came up against Marin at the recent Scottish Open and pushed her all the way, losing narrowly 21-15 22-20.
“We had the match on camera, watched it two or three times and I would definitely have learned from it,” Magee said.
“We have sat down, viewed the whole thing and we have seen tactical errors, small things we feel can help my game.”
Magee and Marin are on the same side of the draw, but will be kept apart until the semi-finals, provided they get the length.
The semis are what Magee has on the radar this week, though and the 25-year old feels that she’s in good form.
“I am performing well,” Magee, a double Olympian, said.
No Irish player has won the women’s singles since Dorothy Cunningham topped the pile in 1978 – how Badminton Ireland would love for their golden girl to come out on top in the centenary year of the competition.
Magee is contracted to play League Badminton in Germany with TV Refrath. On Saturday she defeated the European bronze medalist Linda Zechiri 3-2 before jetting back to Ireland for this week’s big tourmamemt.
Magee will team up with her brother Sam for the mixed doubles, the local pair set to take on Niclas Nohr and Sara Thygesen.
She said: “Our Mixed Doubles results have been really good. There is a big chance for us there. For us to qualify for Rio (Olympic Games, 2016), we need to be in the top twenty. It is a really big ask. Only so many go, you see, so this is a big year for us.”
Yesterday, Magee defeated Russian Natalya Perminova 24-22 21-17 in a warm-up game with the Magee brother-sister duo winning a later warm-up against Sweden’s Jonathan Frosberg and Louise Ericsson 21-15 21-14.
CHLOE Magee was defeated in straight sets by World number two Wang Yihan in her Olympic opener this afternoon.