Team Scotland is guaranteed at least a silver medal in the tennis competition at the XIX Commonwealth Games following tonight’s victory for Colin Fleming and Joss Rae in the semi finals of the mixed doubles.
On a packed number one court at the R.K. Khanna complex, the unseeded Scots, playing together for only the third time, defeated England’s Ross Hutchins and Anna Smith to reach the final and a shot at the gold medal against top seeded Australians Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova.
Fleming and Rae started the match strongly and, with Fleming’s serve all but un-returnable, the Scots took the first set 6-3. But in the second set their form dipped whilst the English pair stepped up a gear to level the match at one set all.
Once again there was a fantastic atmosphere at the R.K. Khanna complex and as the players changed ends before the start of a tense deciding set it was clear who the crowd were backing.
Chants of ‘Scotland, Scotland’ began to ring around the stadium as Fleming orchestrated the crowd and the Scots responded to the support in style, once again finding the form that has seen them reach this stage of the competition.
At 5-4 up the Scots earned their first match points but after a backhand return from Rae went agonisingly wide, missing the line by inches, the English couple levelled the set at 5-5.
But two games later it was all over when the Scots closed the match out 6-3 1-6 7-5 to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.
Afterwards, Fleming reflected on a close match which could have gone either way:
“The crowds here really appreciate good tennis and they showed that tonight. The matches we’ve played have all had great atmospheres and it was great to have the crowd behind us tonight – we really thrived on it.
“I thought everyone played well tonight. It just came down to one or two points at the end and thankfully we managed to just sneak it.
“We’re both really looking forward to the final on Sunday now. We’re ready to go through the emotional rollercoaster again and we’ll try and get gold.”
Rae agreed: “It was touch and go there for a while but we played well. It’s only the third match me and Colin have played together but our game styles compliment each other. Colin’s awesome to play with, he’s really encouraging and he’s an amazing player.
“All four of us played really well and I think we gave the crowd something good to watch. We couldn’t have asked for a better match tonight and the crowd were great with us. It was a fun match to play in and it was another great atmosphere.”
Fleming and Rae will now play Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova on Sunday in the gold medal match.