Sourabh Verma claims Vietnam Open title
India’s Sourabh Verma clinched his second BWF Tour title of the season at the Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday.
Up against the unseeded Sun Fei Xiang of China, the Indian second seed battled to a 21-12, 17-21, 21-14 in an hour and 12 minutes.
His triumph comes hot on the heels of the Hyderabad Open crown he won last month.
In early rounds Verma seemed to struggle a bit in the initial phase of the match, but on Sunday, it was him who started on the front foot with a few powerful strokes to catch his opponents off guard.
His fleet footedness coupled with some smart shot selection meant Verma raced to an 11-4 lead mid-interval of the opening game.
From there on, it was a matter of maintaining the momentum, something the Indian did without much trouble to take the opening game 21-12.
With the manner in which the opening game unfolded, many expected Verma to run away with the tie.
But Xiang was not done yet, as he regrouped well just in time for the second and took the fight to the Indian to make a match of the final. The Chinese mixed his shots well, making Verma move all over the court and forcing him into committing errors. The approach bore fruits as the World No. 68 raced to an 8-0 lead in the second game.
He made it to the mid-game interval at 11-5 and then continued to enjoy an upper hand till 18-11 before Verma mounted something of a comeback.
Though the Indian stretched the game to make it 16-19, Xiang ensured that he didn’t let his lead slip and took the second 21-17.
With everything at stake in the final game, both the shuttlers resorted to a cautious start as they exchanged points till 6-6. While Verma banked on his powerful strokes and quick movements, Xiang was at his deceptive best to catch his opponent unaware.
Verma, however, was quick to read Xiang’s play as he forced the issue to take an 11-7 lead at the break.
Post the change of ends, though the Chinese tried his best to catch up, Verma kept the pressure on to maintain his four-point lead going into the final phase of the tie and wrapped it up with a final flourish to clinch the top prize.
The badminton caravan will now move to Changzhou in China for the China Open Super 1000 between 17th and 22nd September.
The event will feature most of the top shuttlers in action with the Indian challenge being led by the newly crowned World champion PV Sindhu.
However, Verma is not amongst the Indian contingent selected for the tournament - his next assignment will be at the Korean Open the week after.