Verma leads Indian challenge as Marin returns at Vietnam Open

Olympic champion set to return after lengthy injury lay off

The BWF Tour heads to Ho Chi Minh City this week for the Vietnam Open Super 100 event.

Though most of the top Indian shuttlers have chosen to skip the competition and concentrate on the events in China and Korea later this month, the likes of Saurabh Verma, Shubankar Dey and Ajay Jayaram will be seen in action at the Nguyen Du Club.

Leading the Indian challenge will be world no. 38 Verma who has endured a typically topsy-turvy season so far. Though the Gopichand Academy trainee has a title that he won at the Hyderabad Open to show for, not everything has gone to plan.

Indifferent form

Verma managed to reach the semifinal at the US Open Super 300 and the last eight at the Canada Open Super 100, but was found wanting in tournaments that saw the big guns enter the fray.

At the Chinese Taipei Open last week, the Indian was ousted in the second round after a disappointing loss to local hope Tien Chen Chou.

Verma though is seeded second in Vietnam and will be looking to lay down a marker with showcase events likes the China Open and the Korea Open on the horizon later this month.

Ajay Jayaram is yet to reach a semifinal this year
Ajay Jayaram is yet to reach a semifinal this yearAjay Jayaram is yet to reach a semifinal this year

Accompanying Verma in Vietnam are two shuttlers who have also had a 'mixed bag' of results this season

While Ajay Jayaram is yet to reach a semifinal this year, Shubankar Dey has had some encouraging results.

This year has seen the 26-year-old record wins over the world no. four and the Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie and one of Indonesia’s top players Tommy Sugiarto.

Marin returns

Despite the Vietnam Open being the lowest among the Grade 2 events on the BWF calendar, the 2019 edition is expected to generate plenty of buzz with Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin returning to the court after a lengthy injury lay off.

The Spaniard had ruptured her knee ligament during the final of the 2019 Indonesia Masters against Saina Nehwal in January and was forced to undergo surgery.

Talking about her injury and the rehab, Marin said: “The hardest moment was when they showed me the scan of my knee. It was the day after I came back from Indonesia. The doctor told me I had a ruptured cruciate ligament and that they had to operate. That was when I started crying — a lot."

“I fell apart because I knew I'd be out of competition for months. I knew I'd miss it a lot but it's true too That the second I left the hospital my mentality completely changed. I became fully focused on recovering as soon as possible, sending positive messages at all times, nothing negative and trying to come back stronger and more determined than before.”

Marin will open up on Wednesday against Thailand's Supanida Katethong.

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