Syed Modi Open: Sensational Sameer defends title

Sameer Verma made a fine comeback after losing the opening game to defeat Guangzu Lu 16-21, 21-19, 21-14 and defend his Syed Modi International Badminton Championship title.

Sameer Verma is the defending champion at Syed Modi badminton tournament.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the  Syed Modi International Badminton Championships 2018 men's final  between India's Sameer Verma and China's Guangzu Lu.

Game 3

HE'S DONE IT! The sensational Sameer Verma makes a fine comeback after losing the opening game to defeat Guangzu Lu 16-21, 21-19, 21-14 and defend his title.

19-14: That seems to settle the debate. Sameer now has a comfortable five point advantage and is only two points away from successfully defending his title!

16-13: It's really tough to say which way this match is going as neither player is really able to seize control of the game just yet. In what has been a seesaw battle so far, Sameer seems to have the upper hand with a three point lead and the home crowd spurring him on but Lu, who has been in fine form this tournament,  is not one to give up. We have a crucial few points ahead of us! 

13-12: Sameer attempts a huge forehand smash but his shot misses the line by a whisker. He still continues to remain in the lead, albeit by a single point.

11-10: And he's back in the lead! Lu's return finds the net as Sameer wins three points on the trot to go ahead in this deciding third game.

8-10: There we go. Sameer wins his first point in eight points to make it 8-10.

7-9: Lu isn't one to give up. The Chinese shuttler brings his A game onto the court and claims six successive points to soar into the lead in this deciding game of the men's final. 

7-3: Sameer has really stepped up his game in the decider. He's looking a lot more lively, is moving better and looks determined to defend his title. He now has a four point lead.

2-2: What a stunning display of badminton here! Sameer give it his all, dives to his right to make a remarkable recovery and goes on to win the point, much to the joy of the vociferous home crowd.

Game 2
 

21-19: GAME TO SAMEER! He wins the second game 21-19 in 27 minutes to take this men's final contest to a deciding third game.

20-18: Two game-points for Sameer now. Can the defending champion cash in on the chance and push this tie to a deciding third game?

19-18: Boy oh boy, what a rally! Sameer's return clips the net-cord and just about manages to make it to the other court and Lu's return drifts wide.

18-16: How crucial is this point? Sameer plays a lovely forehand lob and Lu thinks its going out but the shuttle lands on the line. Can Sameer close out the game from here?

16-16: This second game is going down to the wire! Lu took the lead but Sameer came right back to draw parity. We're in for a thrilling finish!

14-13: Unforced error! Sameer's lead has been reduced to a mere point now. Successive unforced errors have put him in a spot here.

13-8: Things are looking up for Sameer here. He's made a fine comeback and taken control of the second game. 

10-7: The defending champion makes his way back into the match! He now hold a crucial three-point lead.

6-6: And we're back on level terms.

4-2: What a rally! The Indian does extremely well to cover the court and plays a sharp forehand cross-court to Lu and the latter only manages to find the net.

3-2: Much like in the first game, Sameer takes an early lead. 

Game 1

16-21: GAME TO LU. The Chinese shuttler wins the first game on his third attempt.

14-20: Game-point to Lu. Sameer's forehand lob sails past the line and Lu is one point away from taking the first game.

12-18: The game seems to be slipping away from Sameer. His drop finds the net as Lu inches closer towards game-point.

11-15: There goes the lead. Sameer tries to clip the line but his forehand smash drifts just wide. Lu is now all of six points away from sealing the opening game.

11-11: And he's back on level terms! The defending champion, Sameer, scalps three points in a row to draw parity.

8-11: Seven points in a row for Lu! What a comeback this has been from the Chinese shuttler. He was reeling at 4-8 not so long ago and he now has a three-point cushion!

8-9: What a thunderous hit! Lu gets hold of a weak Sameer backhand and slams a fierce smash down the line to take the lead for the first time today.

8-7: Signs of a comeback? Lu wins four points on the trot to claw his way back into this opening game.

7-3: Brilliant all-round badminton on display here. An enthralling rally, which saw many a clever drop shot, comes to an end as Lu drags his forehand wide. Sameer continues to stay ahead.

5-2: A strong start for the Indian. He forces Lu to play a weak lob and sends down a powerful smash to remain in the lead.

3-1: Sameer takes the early lead and makes it 3-1 with a well-directed lob.

-Sameer's road to the final-

Third seed Sameer, who won titles at Swiss and Hyderabad this year, saw off Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 21-13 17-21 21-8 in a 57-minute men’s singles semifinals on Saturday.

Sameer led 3-0 and 7-4 before Chico managed to hold a slender 11-10 advantage at the interval. The Indian, however, soon blasted off 10 straight points at 10-12 to jump to 20-12 and then sealed the opening game in his favour.

Sameer Verma in action at the Syed Modi International World Tour in Lucknow.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

 

He was comfortably placed at 7-1 in the second game when Chico scripted a stirring recovery to make it 12-11 at one stage. Sameer earned a slender 17-16 lead but the Indonesian managed to bounce back with five points.

In the decider, Sameer seemed to be in a zone of his own as he jumped to an 11-3 lead at the breather and then maintained his stranglehold to comfortably secure his place in the final.

-Lu's road to the final-

Lu comes into the tie hard-fought comeback win over Thailand's Thammasin Sitthikom. Lu lost the first game 10-21 but made a remarkable turnaround to clinch the next two games 21-16, 21-17 to seal his berth in Sunday's final.