Hong Kong Open: Double delight for India as PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma enter the final
Indian badminton witnessed a historic day at the Hong Kong Open on Saturday with both Sameer Verma and PV Sindhu making it to the final of this Superseries event. Sameer was sensational as he created a huge upset by sending the World No. 3 and reigning China Open champion Jan O Jorgensen home with a 21-19, 24-22 win.
Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu joined him soon after with a solid 21-14, 21-16 victory over the World No. 26 Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong, who ended the hopes of Saina Nehwal in the quarter-finals.
This is thus the first time that two Indians have reached both the finals of the singles events at Hong Kong. The World No. 43 Sameer Verma goes on to join Kidambi Srikanth and Ajay Jayaram as only the third Indian to make it to the men’s singles summit clash of any Superseries event.
As for Sindhu, she simply continues from where she had left. She is now on a nine-match winning streak after conquering the China Open last Sunday which was the very first Superseries title of her career. Overall, this is the third final for the 21-year-old at a tournament of such a high level.
Sindhu’s superb form has also made her the India No. 1 in women’s singles after the World No. 9 overtook the 11th ranked Saina Nehwal in the latest BWF Rankings released on Thursday. The Pullela Gopichand protégé has also been rewarded with a chance to play at the prestigious BWF World Superseries Finals to be held in Dubai next month.
Another final for India at the Scottish GP
There was more delight for India as the top-seeded pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy too entered the mixed doubles final of the simultaneously ongoing Scottish Grand Prix being held in Glasgow. The Indians, who won the Brazil GP and the Russian Open GP a few weeks back, advanced to the summit showdown with a 21-18, 23-21 win over the Danish duo of Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen.
Admirable effort from Sameer
Considering Sameer had never reached a Superseries quarter-final before, this was indeed a tremendous effort from him. The Indian national champion quickly opened up a 7-1 lead only to see the Dane fighting back for 10-9. But that did not deter the Indian whose excellent retrieval skills simply took the game away from his illustrious rival.
With a mind-blowing display of defence, he surged to 20-17 and bagged the game on his third game point.
In a reversal of fortunes, the third seed went up 7-1 in the second game following which the 22-year-old Indian came back to close in on 5-7. The momentum kept on swinging from one side to the other and the Dane even raced ahead to 17-14.
But a calm Sameer showed excellent maturity and erased three game points from 17-20 down to make it 20-20. Even after squandering his first match point with a terrible unforced error, he held his nerve to save another game point and complete the upset in 46 minutes.
Later, PV Sindhu did not falter at all against the local hope, who ended Saina Nehwal’s run in the quarter-finals on Friday. The China Open champion made use of her height to give a good elevation to her shots that troubled Cheung throughout the opening game, who conceded it to the Indian, 14-21.
In the second game, the World No. 26 was toe-to-toe with the Indian till 10-10 before the Indian started attacking relentlessly to secure the win in 46 minutes.