Former Indian national champion Sourabh Verma continues to impress at the Russian Open 2018 as he made it to the final of this Super 100 tournament in Vladivostok, Russia on Saturday. The eighth seed needed just 31 minutes to dismiss the challenge of his compatriot, Mithun Manjunath 21-9, 21-15 in a heavily one-sided semi-final at this event.
The 65th ranked Verma will take on the 119th ranked Koki Watanabe of Japan in the title round on Sunday. This is the first meeting between the two.
This is the Pullela Gopichand protégé’s first final since finishing as the runner-up to Shi Yuqi at the Bitburger Open in November of 2016. His last title on the international circuit came that same year at the Chinese Taipei Masters.
At the Russian Open, he has been in top form and has not dropped a game in four matches so far. This is his best performance since recovering from an ankle injury, that kept him out of action for some time.
The Dhar-born Verma was not the only one to make it through to the summit clash. The second seeded mixed doubles pair of Kuhoo Garg and Rohan Kapoor too are one win away from the title after they produced a stunning display of guts and resilience.
The Indian pair held their nerves for a nail-biting 21-19, 11-21, 22-20 win over the Malaysian combine of Chen Tang Jie and Yen Wei Peck in a semi-final battle that lasted 58 minutes.
The Indians will face the unseeded Russian-Korean duo of Vladimir Ivanov and Min Kyung Kim in the final.
The Indian mixed doubles combine is one of the most promising teams on the rise. They reached the final at the Lagos International just last week and are now placed at 45th, just a couple of places shy of their career-best ranking of 43rd, which they achieved this month.
Meanwhile, the men’s doubles pair of Arun George and Sanyam Shukla did not have the same fortunes as they went down 15-21, 19-21 to the second seeds Konstantin Abramov and Alexandr Zinchenko.