Chief national coach, P Gopi Chand, had expressed confidence on Tuesday that the young Indian players would make a mark in the Syed Modi Memorial India Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship.
His prophecy came true on Wednesday on Day I of the main draw as Sameer Verma, Rohit Yadav C, Saurabh Verma and Gurusaidutt made it to the men’s singles pre-quarters after top names like Ajay Jayaram, Anup Sridhar and Anand Pawar were ousted in the first round.Verma, a qualifier, pulled off the day’s most stunning win, brushing aside third seed Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark 11-21, 21-14, 25-23.
Verma, who won a silver medal at the Asia Youth Under-19 Championship here in July, made full use of the local support and conditions against the Dane. His brother, Saurabh, too showed his class against Thailand’s Pakkawat Vilailak, winning in three games, 18-21, 21-13, 21-11.
Saina pulls out
Saina Nehwal’s no-show on Wednesday took her rivals and fans by surprise. “She has just finished with the Super Series Finals and is down with cold and a slight hamstring pull,” said coach Gopi Chand, after the world No 4 pulled out.