Syed Modi International: Sameer Verma stuns second seed, PV Sindhu reaches semi-finals
Hong Kong Open runner-up Sameer Verma stole the show by causing a big upset in the quarter-finals of the $120,000 Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow on Friday. The eighth seed sent the second-seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus packing, 21-15, 21-13 in 36 minutes to book himself a semi-final berth.
Sameer was not the only Indian to triumph as three of his compatriots progressed into the last four, thus guaranteeing an Indian champion in the men’s singles draw.
Sameer will next face 15th-seeded Harsheel Dani, who sent ripples across the draw by outlasting the 12th seed Emil Holst, 21-16, 17-21, 21-11 in a 49-minute battle.
But curtains came down on the campaign of Sameer’s elder brother, Sourabh. The 11th seed bowed out after a mighty effort that saw him be edged out 19-21, 21-12, 10-21 by the ninth-seeded B Sai Praneeth. The match lasted 56 minutes.
Sai has a tough task up next as he takes on the third seed and defending champion Kidambi Srikanth for a place in Sunday’s summit clash. Srikanth needed 43 minutes to dismiss the seventh seed Zulfadli Zulkiffli, 21-12, 21-17.
PV Sindhu cruises
In the women’s singles draw, the top seed PV Sindhu continued her run of comfortable wins to reach the semi-finals. The 17-year-old Indian qualifier Vaidehi Choudhari was no match for the Rio Olympic silver medallist, who beat her, 21-15, 21-11 in just 26 minutes. For the first time at the tournament this year, Sindhu will face a non-Indian opponent as she squares off against the fourth seed Fitriani Fitriani for a spot in the final.
The Indonesian came through a very tough quarter-final, breaking the hearts of home fans when she narrowly beat Rituparna Das, 21-17, 13-21, 23-21. The marathon finished in 58 minutes.
In women’s doubles, an Indian pair is guaranteed a spot in the final. The newly-formed pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy continued their rampage through the draw and toppled the second seeds Mei Kuan Chow and Lee Meng Yean, 21-14, 21-18 to set up a clash with fellow Indians Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil.
Ponnappa had a great day in mixed doubles too. Seeded seventh alongside B Sumeeth Reddy, the two upset the third seeds Yong Kai Terry Hee and Wei Han Tan, 21-18, 23-21. They will now face the top-seeded Danish combine of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.
Second seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy too made it through to the last-four. They defeated the eighth seeds Yogendran Krishnan and Prajakta Sawant, 21-16, 21-19 and will now meet the fifth seeds Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen.