Sourabh Verma enters finals of Bitburger Open

Sourabh, who had clinched the Chinese Taipei Open last month, defeated 15th seed Antonsen 21-15, 21-18 in a 39-minute clash in the USD 120,000 Bitburger Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament.

Sourabh will take on fourth seeded and World No.16 Shi Yuqi in the summit clash.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Indian shuttler Sourabh Verma is just one step away from clinching his consecutive title after he notched up a straight-game victory over Denmark’s Anders Antonsen to reach the men’s singes final of Bitburger Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here.

The 23-year-old Indian, who had clinched the Chinese Taipei Open last month, defeated 15th seed Antonsen 21-15, 21-18 in a 39-minute clash in the USD 120,000 tournament here.

World No. 57 Sourabh, who reached the finals in his last three tournaments in Belgium, Poland and Chinese Taipei, will take on fourth seeded and World No.16 Shi Yuqi in the summit clash.

The Chinese had beaten the Indian in a gruelling three-game match early this year at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships in January.

Sourabh’s younger brother and national champion Sameer Verma, seeded 12th, lost 18-21, 15-21 to Shi Yuqi in another semifinal match.

Sourabh dished out a gritty performance as he fought back from 3-6 and 8-10 down to grab 14-12 lead. Antonsen clawed his way back immediately but the Indian ensured he had the advantage as he pocketed the first game.

In the second game, Sourabh opened up a 10-7 lead but the Denmark shuttler drew parity at 15-15 and then grabbed a 18-16 lead. But the Indian reeled off five points to seal the issue in his favour.

Sourabh is on a comeback trail after spending almost a year on the sidelines due to elbow and knee injuries last year.