Bitburger Open: Sourabh and Sameer Verma enter semi-finals
Madhya Pradesh’s Verma family had a delightful day on Friday with both their sons – Sourabh and Sameer putting up wonderful performances to reach the semi-finals of the Bitburger Open in Saarbrucken, Germany.
Younger brother Sameer was the first one to start off the celebrations as he made it to the last-four stage with a serene 21-14, 21-16 win over Ukraine’s 68th ranked shuttler Artem Pochtarov. Elder brother Sourabh soon joined him in the semi-finals but it was a far tougher route for him. The 23-year-old needed some remarkable show of guts to pull off a 21-15, 16-21, 21-15 upset win over the third-seeded German Marc Zwiebler.
The semi-final opponents of both are still undecided. While the 12th seeded Sameer will face the winner of the match between the fourth seed Shi Yuqi and the fifth seed Jonatan Christie, Sourabh will take on the victor of the quarter-final contest between Anders Antonsen and Fabian Roth.
Sameer had absolutely no problems in brushing away the challenge of Pochtarov. From 2-4 down, he raced to a 9-4 lead which he extended to 15-8 in minutes. The Ukrainian tried to curb his confidence but managed to take just six more points for the rest of the game before the 12th seed grabbed it 21-14.
The second game was a lot more hard-fought where Pochtarov succeeded in keeping toe-to-toe with Sameer till 17-16 before the Indian made a big push to wrap it up in 35 minutes.
Elder brother Sourabh came into this tournament on the back of winning the Chinese Taipei Masters last month and he carried on that form to post four wins here so far.
In the quarter-finals, the 23-year-old broke away from a 12-12 tie in the opening game to jump to 16-12 before clinching the opener. Zwiebler turned the tables on him in the following game where the Indian had led 11-9 at the mid-game interval.
The German went on a run of six straight points to surge ahead to 16-13 and that proved to be the bane for Sourabh who had to concede the second game.
But he quickly regrouped to play a solid third game and eked out the 21-15, 16-21, 21-15 win in 51 minutes.