Sameer Verma put an end to what proved to be a struggling day for Indian badminton after he beat Guangzu Lu of China in the men’s singles final of Syed Modi International Badminton tournament 2018. By doing so, he has not only successfully retained his title but also ensured that the hosts do not end the tournament with no title to show for.
However, Saina Nehwal had to endure a shock defeat at the hands of the young Chinese shuttler Han Yue on Sunday which saw the veteran player settle for a runner-up place.
Sameer was made to work hard by his opponent, as he came back from being a game down to defeat the 6th-seeded Chinese shuttler by 16-21, 21-19, 21-14 in a game that lasted for well over 70 minutes.
As a result of his sublime win, Sameer has now overtaken Kenta Nishimoto of Japan at No. 8 in the Guangzhou Rankings. He has also booked his ticket in the BWF World Tour Finals.
The rising 24-year old started the final in fine fashion, leading 8-4 in the first game. However, he wasted his chances and soon trailed 8-11 before the break. Post break as well, it was Lu who dominated the proceedings, as he managed to win 14 out of 18 points to increase his lead to 18-12 before finally scalping the game.
Sameer managed to crawl back into the following game, as he went into the break with a three-point lead. Nonetheless, Lu was not going to settle for a defeat easily. He as well tried and succeeded in making a comeback as the score stood at 16-16.
It was the world No. 16 Indian who edged past a resurgent Lu to take the match into a title-deciding finale.
The decider started again with a close contest between the two shuttlers with Sameer entering the break with a paltry one point lead. Nevertheless, the Indian shuttler game closed the contest post the break, winning the match by 7 points.
Saina, Satwik-Chirag, Ashwini-Sikki all lose in the finals
Elsewhere, Saina Nehwal, a former champion and the second seed, lost in straight games to Han. The is just 19 years old and is ranked 27th in the world women’s singles. Nehwal, who had earlier won the Commonwealth Games gold, went down 18-21 8-21 to finish as a runner-up in the tournament. The one-sided contest lasted barely over in a 34-minute.
Meanwhile, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also had to witness a defeat in straight games against Indonesia’s second-seeded pair of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto to suffice with a runners-up prize in the men’s doubles competition.
Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy another runners-up pair after being defeated 15-21,12-21 by Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean in the women’s doubles final.
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