Edinburgh-born Robert Blair edged nearer to collecting his first Commonwealth Games medal representing Scotland when he made it into the quarter-finals of both the mixed and men’s doubles at The Emirates Arena.
Qualifying through residency, the 32-year-old won medals for England at the 2002 and 2006 Games – but it would mean far more to claim one for his native country.
In the mixed doubles, he joined Imogen Bankier in a battling 21-15, 21-8 last 16 win over Singapore’s Terry Hee and Mingtian Fu and he followed up with a 21-18, 21-13 victory alongside Paul Van Rietvelde in the men’s doubles over Canada’s Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng.
“It’s an incredible atmosphere and it would be fantastic to win a medal in front of this crowd,” said Blair, a 2004 Olympian whose family live in Longniddry. “I’ve had so many messages from friends this week and it makes it extra special.”
Van Rietvelde was also brought up in Longniddry and both doubles players had Blair’s Mum, Irene, as their first coach. The 22-year-old beat the pain of an ankle injury to make it into the quarters, and will be ready to give it another go against the No.3 seeds in the men’s doubles, Singapore’s Danny Chrisnanti and Chayut Triyachart.
In the third round, Edinburgh’s Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh, from Kinross, lost 14-21, 15-21 to the No.4 seeds from Australia, Ross Smith and Robbin Middleton.
In the singles, Scottish champions Kirsty Gilmour and Kieran Merrilees both won easily to make it into the last eight. Gilmour is the No.2 seed and should go through against New Zealand’s Michelle Chan, while Merrilees faces the current European champion and No.3 seed, England’s Rajiv Ouseph.