"Last 3-4 months have been very good," says Sameer Verma after India Open Round of 16 win
What’s the story?
As the Yonex Sunrise India Open Superseries reaches the quarterfinals stage, Sameer Verma remains the only Indian in the fray in the men’s singles competition. Currently ranked 38 in the BWF World Rankings, the 22-year-old defeated Hu Yun 21-17 21-15 in the Round of 16 clash.
Sameer’s elder brother Sourabh, Sai Praneeth, and Srikanth Kidambi bowed out at the pre-quarterfinal stage. Praneeth lost to fifth seed Chou Tien Chen 14-21 16-21, Kidambi was overpowered by top seed Victor Axelsen by a 7-21 12-21 scoreline, and Sourabh was foiled by NG Ka Long Angus in an enthralling 59-minute encounter that ended 19-21 21-14 20-22.
Talking to the press after the match, Sameer said that Yun was quite a tricky player to face. “It was a difficult game, he was covering his ground well and not giving me a moment to rest. I took my chances while I was ahead and that helped me win the match,” he said.
Sameer also spoke about how the last few months have gone well for him and how he has made changes to his game during the time. “The last 3-4 months have been very good and I am hoping to take the momentum into this tournament as well. I have had to make many adjustments to my game – I have increased my speed and have started attacking more,” said Sameer.
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The shuttler had enjoyed a spectacular start to the year, winning the Syed Modi International in January, after reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open Superseries in November 2016. He was coming into the game off the back of a stunning victory against Korean Son Wan Ho, who is currently ranked fifth in the world.
The heart of the matter
Sameer started off his match in perfect fashion, winning the first six points to race into a quickfire lead. He went into the breather at 11-7 and would not concede his advantage for the remainder of the game, taking it by a 21-17 margin.
The second game started off tightly, standing at 9-9 at one point. Sameer then won nine out of the next 11 points, taking the score to 18-11, a sequence that included a delightful cross-court drop shot by the Indian from an extremely acute angle. He ensured his place in the next round as he closed out the game at 21-15.
After two wins against two much higher-ranked opponents, Sameer will now face Danish Anders Antonsen, who sits at number 26 in the BWF World Rankings.
The youngster showed great tenacity to record another giant-killing game against 35-year-old Hu Yun. If he is able to maintain his form in the quarter-finals and use the home advantage, another upset at the hands of Sameer is certainly on the cards.