Syed Modi International: Sourabh Verma enters final, Rituparna loses in semifinals
A gritty Sourabh Verma entered the men’s singles final after a hard-fought three-game win over Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee in the semifinals of the Syed Modi International on Saturday. The 26-year-old Indian, who won two BWF Super 100 titles in Hyderabad and Vietnam this year, displayed a never-say-die attitude during his thrilling 21-17 16-21 21-18 win over Heo, ranked 44th in the world. Sourabh thus set up a final clash with eighth seeded Taiwanese Wang Tzu Wei, who thrashed former world number 1 Korean Son Wan Ho 21-9 21-7 in the other semifinal of the Super 300 event.
Earlier, former national champion Rituparna Das played her heart out before going down to Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan to bow out of the women’s singles competition. The 23-year-old Indian, who had claimed the Polish Open title in 2016 and 2018, went down fighting 22-24 15-21 to Chaiwan in a 39-minute women’s singles semifinal match.
World No. 36 Sourabh made a good start to the semifinal, opening up a 6-2 lead before grabbing a 11-7 advantage at the break. The Madhya Pradesh shuttler kept moving ahead despite a spirited fight from Heo and eventually pocketed the opening game. Stung by the reversal, Heo dished out a better performance in the second game as he led 11-8 at the breather.
After the break, the Korean further increased the gap in the score line with four straight points. Heo kept his nose ahead and won the second game to roar back into the contest. The decider turned out be a roller-coaster ride with the two players fighting tooth and nail. At the interval, Sourabh managed to hold a one-point advantage but Heo quickly erased it and moved to a 18-15 lead at one stage.
Sourabh then reeled off six straight points to shut the door on his opponent and enter the finals. World number 40 Rituparna, who had reached the finals of Dubai International this year, came into the tournament with a 0-1 head-to-head record against her Thai opponent, having lost their only meeting at the Vietnam Open last year.
In the women’s semifinals, Rituparna fell behind 1-6 early on but she made an impressive comeback to grab a 14-11 lead at one stage. Chaiwan then opened up a slender 15-14 lead before moving neck and neck with the Indian. The duo fought hard before the Thai player managed to seal the opening game 24-22.
In the second game, Rituparna was 7-3 up but she once again squandered the lead and allowed Chaiwan to move ahead after trailing 12-15 to seal the contest with nine straight points.