India’s Sameer Verma put up a daunting effort before going down in three games in a pulsating opening round clash against World no 2 Chinese Shi Yuqi in the USD 750,000 Malaysia Open here on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, who had lost to Shi Yuqi in the semifinals of the World Tour Finals in December last year, suffered a heart-breaking 20-22, 23-21, 12-21 loss in a 65-minute men’s singles here.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy, however, made a good start to their campaign, eking out a 22-20, 24-22 win over Ireland’s Sam Magee and Chloe Magee in mixed doubles.

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The men’s singles match was a close battle till 8-8. Sameer fell back to 11-16 but he fought back to make it 20-20 before being edged out by Shi Yuqi in the opening game.

The second game was no different as the Indian was lagging 11-16 again but this time he not only clawed back at 20-20, Sameer reeled off three points to take the match to the decider.

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In the third game, Shi Yuqi jumped to a 9-0 lead and didn’t allow the Indian to fight back.