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Sameer Verma becomes third Indian to win the Swiss Open in last four years

This was Verma's first BWF title in more than a year.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 25 Feb 2018, 22:08 IST
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sameer verma
Sameer Verma

Sameer Verma made a triumphant return from a recurring shoulder injury to win the Swiss Open 2018 -- a BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament -- in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday. The second seed, now placed at 46th in the world rankings, comfortably beat Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen 21-15, 21-13 in the final that lasted 36 minutes.

Sameer beat two former World No. 2 shuttlers -- Kento Momota and Jorgensen -- on his way to glory at this event.

This was the seventh international title of Verma’s career and his first since claiming the Syed Modi International more than a year back in January last year. Since then he was on and off and could not manage to build on that form.

Sameer has been showing glimpses of his best since the start of 2018. The 23-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the India Open at the beginning of this month and carried that form into this week’s Swiss Open.

His best performance was against the in-form Momota, who was on a 38-match winning streak. Verma snapped it with ease as he notched up a 21-17, 21-16 quarter-final win.

In the final, Verma did not falter at all. He had the confidence of beating the higher-accomplished Jorgensen before and he showed that throughout the encounter. The Dane, now ranked 112th, has just come back after eight months of a hiatus due to a long-term heel injury.

His lack of sharpness was evident as Verma brought forth his pace, power and exceptional attack, coupled with delicate touches at the net to completely throw the Dane off. The closest Jorgensen came to the Indian in the first game was when he trailed by two points at 10-12.

The agile Verma soon increased the gap between them before taking the first game. The two were tied till 5-5 in the early stages of the second game. But, except for a brief fightback post the mid-game interval, Jorgensen failed to do much.

From 11-9, Verma raced to 16-9 and then closed out the win when Jorgensen pushed the shuttle wide on match point.

Third Indian winner in last four years

The Swiss Open has always been a happy hunting ground for India. With Sameer’s win, an Indian shuttler has managed to reign supreme in the men’s singles category three out of the last four times.

Kidambi Srikanth won in 2015 and HS Prannoy emulated his feat the following year. 2017 was the exception as Lin Dan was crowned the champion.

In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal has bagged the title in 2011 and 2012.

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