Lucknow, Nov 26:
A gritty Sameer Verma produced a sensational performance to defend his men’s singles title, making up for the failure of his compatriots in the other finals at the USD 150,000 Syed Modi International here Sunday.
World no 16 Sameer defeated China’s Lu Guangzu 16-21, 21-19, 21-14 in a pulsating summit clash to lift the trophy for the second successive time even as Saina Nehwal, men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and women’s doubles combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy bite the dust.
Sameer’s performance helped him gather enough ranking points to surpass Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto at no 8 in the Race to Guangzhou Rankings and qualify for the year-ending BWF World Tour Finals to be held in December.
Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu is the only other Indian to have qualified for the prestigious tournament in China.
“I am really happy that my efforts paid off and I could qualify for the World Tour Finals. Even before the tournament I knew that I had a chance of qualifying if I win the tournament, so that was the target,” said Sameer.
Earlier, former champion Saina failed to produce her best, losing 18-21, 8-21 to young Chinese Han Yue — a 2017 world junior championship silver medallist — in a lop-sided women’s singles summit clash.
Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj and Chirag also went down 11-21, 20-22 to second seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia to settle for the runners-up prize in the men’s doubles competition.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ashwini and Sikki also couldn’t live up to the expectations, losing 15-21, 13-21 to third seeded Malaysian pair of Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean in women’s doubles final. The Indian pair had lost in the finals in the last edition as well.