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Syed Modi Internationals: Sameer Verma retains title, Saina Nehwal settled for silver


Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal settled for silver, while Sameer Verma beat China’s Guangzu Lu to retain the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 tournament in Lucknow on Sunday.

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The 24-year-old from Madhya Pradesh rallied back from a set down to beat Lu 16-21, 21-19, 21-14 in a 70-minute long match and clinch the title. Verma’s defence and feet movements against the 22-year-old opponent Lu, who has won the Australian and Canada Open earlier this year, was not just inspiring but also a great display from the Indian.

This was Verma’s third title in the ongoing year following his victories at the Swiss and Hyderabad Open. It helped him surpass Kenta Nishimoto at World No.8 and seal his spot in the year-ending BWF World Tour Finals.

Meanwhile, former champion Saina Nehwal lost in straight games against Han Yue of China in a lop-sided women’s singles finals.

Second-seeded Saina failed to produce her best against the younger opponent and went down 18-21, 8-21in a 34-minute final to settle for the silver medal.

Syed Modi Internationals Sameer Verma retains titleSameer dominated early as Lu took his time to get into the game and at that point, the defending champion looked too heavy for the Chinese shuttler. He extended it to 8-4 but an error in judgement in the shuttle’s landing followed by three powerful smashes from Lu helped the Chinese claw back at 8-8 and then he extended his advantage to 10-8 with another double smash at the break.

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The reigning champion once again showed a similar composure as he had in the beginning to level the scores but Lu yet again turned the tide and powered his way to 20-14 with few powerful smashes aided by Sameer’s error-prone shots. The Indian saved two more but Lu again sent down a powerful smash to win the opening game.

The second game was a more close battle with both the shuttlers battling toe-on-toe. Sameer led 10-7 after going equally on points until then. He then increased the lead to 11-8 when Lu hit wide and eventually took the game into the decider.

In the decider, Sameer used his momentum to the fullest to prevent Lu from bouncing back. The Indian led 7-6 at one stage, the sixth-seeded Lu, however, scripted an epic comeback to not only level the scores 7-7 but also take a 10-7 lead. Sameer produced a hat-trick of smashes to equal on points. The sixth-seeded Chinese then found the net giving Sameer a slender 11-10 lead at the break.

From there Sameer did not show any signs of slowing down to eke out a 16-12 lead as Lu constantly found the net and often hit wide and long to hand over six points to the Indian. At match point, Lu found the net as Sameer successfully defended his title.

Elsewhere, Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireeddy and Chirag Shetty also went down in straight sets to the second-seeded Indonesian pair of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the men’s doubles finals.

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