Hyderabad Open: Verma, Ponnappa-Reddy progress

By Naveen Peter ·

Sourabh Verma and the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy were the only survivors among the Indians on Friday as the 2019 Hyderabad Open Super 100 event reaches the semi-final stage.

Seventh seed Verma beat his fellow countryman Ajay Jayaram in a rather convincing manner, while Ponnappa and Reddy too had no trouble in dispatching the pair of Meghana J and Poorvisha Ram in under 30 minutes.

Lack of rhythm

The 31-year-old Jayaram, who has struggled to find his form for the major part of the season, was visibly uncomfortable against Verma in their quarterfinal clash.

Though he tried to push the issue in the opening game, Jayaram was no match for the pace and guile of Verma as the Kolkata shuttler wrapped up the first game 21-18 to have his nose ahead in the tie.

In the second, things took a turn for the worse as Jayaram failed to find any rhythm at all and conceded the game - and the match - 21-9.

Verma will now face Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain in the semifinals on Saturday.

Zulkarnain, a bronze medallist with the Malaysian team at the 2018 Badminton Asia Team Championships, beat the Chinese qualifier Bai Yu Peng 21-16, 13-21, 21-16 in his quarterfinal match.

On a roll

Meanwhile, the world number 23 pair of Ponnappa and Reddy had no real trouble as they eased past their opponents in their last-eight tie at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium.

Taking on fellow Indians Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram, the top seeds recorded a convincing 21-16, 21-15 win to seal their place in the semi-final on Saturday.

Ponnappa and Reddy were always in control and wrapped up victory in only 28 minutes.

Seeds fall

The day was not without its share of surprises and upsets as seeds tumbled making way for new faces to take centre stage.

Fifth seed Subhankar Dey of India was outsmarted and outplayed by Indonesia’s 22-year-old Loh Kean Yew 21-11, 21-16, while the second seed men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy couldn’t last the distance as they bowed out to South Korea’s Na Sung Seung and Wang Chan 21-19, 11-21, 17-21.