Syed Modi International: Sourabh Verma keeps home interest alive; Marin in final

Sourabh Verma overpowered Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee 21-17, 16-21, 21-18 and reached his second final at Syed Modi International in eight years.

Sourabh Verma beat Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee in a topsy-turvy match that went the distance.

By bouncing back to win the final six points, unseeded Sourabh Verma ensured that the Indian interest in the $150,000 Syed Modi International badminton tournament here lasted till the final day.

After Rituparna Das's exit, Sourabh gave the vociferous crowd a reason to return on Sunday by overpowering Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee 21-17, 16-21, 21-18 and reached his second final here in eight years.

Earlier, eighth seed Wang Tzu Wei dismissed a struggling seventh seed Son Wan Ho 21-9, 21-7. This 33-minute mismatch saw the former World No. 1 struggle with his on-court movements and give up without a serious fight.

Carolina Marin moved within a victory of achieving what she came for.
Runner-up to Saina Nehwal here in 2015, Marin was stretched in the
opening game by Korea’s Kim Ga Eun but eventually won 22-20, 21-16 in
55 minutes.

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In the final, Marin faces unseeded Thai Phittayaporn Chaiwan. Ranked 40th, the Thai faced a stiff resistance from the 165th ranked Rituparna in the first game during the 24-22, 21-15 triumph.

Compared to Heo Kwang Hee, Sourabh is ranked eight places higher at
36th. This difference clearly gave the home favourite some added confidence.

Sourabh opened an early lead and was seldom threatened in the game. In the second, Heo never trailed to force the decider. Sourabh struggled to stay close to the Korean, who stayed ahead for the better part. The finish to this 75-minute encounter was to the liking of the crowd as Sourabh rallied from 15-18 to cross the finish-line.

In the Marin-Kim contest, where the two were closely matched, the higher percentage of unforced errors from the Korean proved decisive.

In terms of ranking - with Marin at 17th and Kim Ga Eun at 18th - very little separated these players. But armed with the experience of being a three-time world champion and the 2016 Olympic gold medallist clearly helped Marin to call the shots when it mattered.

Following a close first game, where Marin needed a second game point to prevail, the second saw the Korean play more aggressively. However, the deception in Marin’s play kept the Spaniard ahead.

Marin’s deft touches and sharply angled cross-court smashes made things more difficult for the Korean. Though Kim Ga Eun battled hard to close the gap to 17-16, but Marin raced away with the last four points.

Semifinal results (Indians unless stated)

Men's singles: Wang Tzu Wei (Tpe) bt Son Wan Ho (Kor) 21-9, 21-7;
Sourabh Verma bt Heo Kwang Hee (Kor) 21-17, 16-21, 21-18.

Women's singles: Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Tha) bt Rituparna Das 24-22,
21-15; Carolina Marin (Esp) bt Kim Ga Eun (Kor) 22-20, 21-16.

Men's doubles: Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae (Kor) b Han Cheng Kai and
Zhou Hao Dong (Chn) 21-17, 21-16; He Jiting and Tan Qiang (Chn) bt Di
Zijian and Wang Chang (Chn) 17-21, 21-11, 21-11.

Women's doubles: Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun (Kor) bt Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting (Hkg) 21-12, 21-11; Chang Ye Na and Kim Hye Rin (Kor) bt Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich (Ger) 21-14, 21-12.

Mixed doubles: Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith (Eng) bt Mark Lamsfuss
and Isabel Herttrich (Ger) 23-21, 21-13; Rodion Alimov and Alina
Davletova (Rus) bt Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue (Fra) 21-16,
18-21, 21-9