Sameer Verma battles through to stay alive in Dutch Open

The top seed defeated compatriot Kiran George to advance to the quarterfinals.

India’s top-ranked shuttler at the 2019 Dutch Open Super 100 Series Sameer Verma had to fight hard in his opening tie of the competition against compatriot Kiran George. The 24-year-old ultimately triumphed with a 21-19, 19-21, 21-13 scoreline.

Spirited performance

In the first game, Verma started the better of the two as he maintained a four-point lead for the majority of the game. Though George fought back to reduce the gap to just a couple of points as the game reached its climax, Verma showed his experience as he remained calm under pressure to win the first game 21-19.

In the second, George picked up steam racing into a three-point lead. However, Verma clawed his way back into the contest and the game remained neck-to-neck as both shuttlers weren’t willing to give the other a scoreline advantage. George, however, forced the issue to pick up five points on the trot at a critical juncture to lead 19-15 and soon sealed the game 21-19.

Sameer Verma has advanced to the third round of the Dutch Open.
Sameer Verma has advanced to the third round of the Dutch Open.Sameer Verma has advanced to the third round of the Dutch Open.

Returning to the deciding game, it was Verma who looked fresher and more agile on the court. He raced to a dominating 13-2 lead and from then on, the match was going only in one direction as George seemed to lose his way to end up on the losing side. 

While Verma triumphed in a three-game thriller, his older brother Sourabh Verma ended on the wrong side of the result against Germany’s Kai Schaefer, losing 17-21, 21-10, 19-21. 

Marching on

Earlier in the day, Lakshya Sen built on his hard-fought win against Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen and put in a stellar performance against Cuban Osleni Guerrero, winning 21-12, 21-12.

The young Indian prospect got an early lead in the first game with the score reading 7-3 in his favour just minutes after the start of play. Sen always maintained that gap as the tie progressed, never letting his opponent get into a commanding position as he ultimately won the first game.

The second game was very evenly fought in comparison, with the scores reading 11-10 in favour of the Indian at the mid-game interval. Later, it was Sen all the way as he picked six points on the bounce to win the match with identical scores in each game and set up a clash with the winner of the game between Ygor Coelho and Rasmus Gemke

India’s Rahul Bharadwaj also continued his winning ways as he triumphed 21-18, 21-13 against Malaysia’s Cheam June Wei.

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