Syed Modi International champion Sameer Verma beat the former World No. 2 Kento Momota to become the only Indian to enter the semi-finals of the Swiss Open 2018 in Basel, Switzerland on Friday. Verma, seeded second at this Super 300 tournament, fought for 44 minutes to register a 21-17, 21-16 win over the in-form Japanese.
This was a confidence-boosting victory for the World No. 46 Indian shuttler, who had a 0-1 losing head-to-head record against the Japanese. Momota had been in tremendous form ever since he joined the BWF Tour after his ban for illegal gambling was lifted last year.
The 23-year-old racked up five titles in 2017 on his return and won all his three matches at the Badminton Asia Team Championships earlier this month. He was on a 38-match winning streak when he met Sameer in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Verma was careful not to let his highly accomplished opponent settle into the match and built a 13-9 lead in the first game. The game was then on level terms till 16-16 following which the Indian brought forth his deceptive game to thwart Momota and that helped him take the opener.
The second game looked to be heading Momota’s way as he raced ahead to open up a 15-11 lead. The determined Verma soon came back and displayed a lot of aggression to level it up at 15-15. As Momota erred, Verma held his nerves to complete the win and set up a last-four meeting with the World No. 49 Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand.
The latter ended the brilliant run of the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt, who was a qualifier at this event. The Indian collapsed into a heap of unforced errors to succumb to an 8-21, 15-21 defeat in 35 minutes.
In men’s doubles, the pair of Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran went down 13-21, 18-21 to the Thai combine of Maneepong Jongjit and Nanthakarn Yordphaisong.Published 24 Feb 2018, 13:35 IST