Toby Penty believes he’s playing some of the best badminton of his career as he swept aside Austria’s Wolfgang Gnedt on day one of the Scottish Open Grand Prix.
The 25-year-old, from Walton-on-Thames, downed Gnedt 21-14, 21-10 in the men’s singles first round at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena after being seeded at 13 for the tournament.
Crossing across game one and game two Penty won eight consecutive points at one stage, in a dominant performance that backed up the shuttler’s claims.
Penty lost to Chou Tien Chen in the same arena at the TOTAL BWF World Championships in August, but feels the big-venue experience is improving his game.
“I feel like I’m in a period this year where I’ve been playing some of my best badminton,” said Penty. “So I think if I can maintain that level of play I can go quite deep into the draw.
“I felt quite comfortable, I really enjoy playing here. I played a good game here in the World Championships back in August so I was happy to be back out playing at this venue.
“There were a few patches where I maybe lost concentration, but overall I’m happy with how I played.
“I’m seeded 13 so I want to reach my seeded position then see where I go from there.”
Penty will face off against Sri Lankan Dinuka Karunaratna on Thursday, an opponent who he knows well and is confident he can get the better of.
The Surrey left-hander is currently ranked 67th in the world and won the Swedish International men’s singles in January.
He’s hoping that a win against Karunaratna and a strong showing in the tournament will aid his cause of cracking the world’s top 50.
“I’ve played him (Karunaratna) a couple of times in domestic tournaments in England so it should be a good game,” Penty added.
“He can play at a good level but I think if I can maintain my concentration and produce a higher shot quality I’ve got a good chance.
“It’s been a turbulent last year, there’s a lot of stuff that’s been happening in badminton funding-wise, but I feel like I’ve done really well and I’m happy with how I’m progressing.
“I’m targeting top 50 in the world. If I can reach that within the next six months I’ll give myself a pat on the back and then go again and see if I can push on from there.”
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.
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