Hong Kong Open: Sameer Verma goes down fighting to World No.14 NG Ka Long Angus in the final
World No.43 Sameer Verma fought impressively in his maiden Superseries final but in the end it was not to be as he went down to the World No. 14 and local hope NG Ka Long Angus at the Hong Kong Open Superseries on Sunday. Verma stormed back to take the second game after being outplayed in the first but eventually lost 14-21, 21-10, 11-21 to his rival from his junior days. The absorbing match lasted 50 minutes.
With this win, Angus etched his name in the record books as he became the first home player to emerge victorious at Hong Kong.
For Verma, who had never even made it to the quarter-finals of any Superseries event before, this was a campaign that was encouraging and would surely inspire him to achieve bigger things in the future. Especially his huge upset win over the World No. 3 and reigning China Open champion Jan O Jorgensen in the semi-finals went on to become the biggest talking point of the tournament.
The Indian national champion, however, could not find any opening to repeat those heroics in the first game of the final as Angus looked very much in control of the points. His jump smashes were absolutely on-point and took the game away from the Indian.
From 7-1 up, he extended the lead to 11-5 at the break. Sameer fought back on resumption and got to within 12-13 but came up short as Angus refused to be derailed. Angus closed the opener soon after with a 21-14 score.
Sameer made a wonderful turnaround in Game 2 and used his aggressive smashes to build a good advantage over his rival who looked a pale shadow of the player who dominated the first game.
Moving beautifully all over the court, he kept on hitting back behind Angus and soared to 17-7 before levelling the contest at one game apiece.
However, the change of ends proved to be disastrous for the Indian who could not keep the surging Hong Kong player in check in the decider. From 11-4, a ruthless Angus stretched his lead to 17-10 through a supreme combination of attack and defence. Sameer was unable to provide any resistance as the determined Angus sailed away to victory.
Earlier in the day, the India No.1 women’s singles player PV Sindhu too lost her final. The Rio Olympic silver medallist went down 15-21, 17-21 to the third-ranked Tai Tzu Ying. The loss ended the China Open winner’s nine-match winning streak.