Syed Modi International: Saina Nehwal, Sameer Verma Enter Semi-Finals
Saina Nehwal will next meet Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia for a place in the final.
Saina Nehwal kept the Indian women's challenge alive by advancing to the semi-finals of the Syed Modi International tournament on Friday. Saina Nehwal was up against compatriot Rituparna Das and she won the match in 36 minutes, beating her opponent 21-19, 21-14. The Indian star will next meet Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia for a place in the final. In the men's single event, Sameer Verma entered the last four but it was the end of the road for Parupalli Kashyap, who lost 16-21, 19-21 to Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand in a match that lasted 44 minutes. Along with Kashyap, B Sai Praneeth, too, was knocked out after losing 10-21, 21-19, 14-21 to China's Lu Guangzu in 58 minutes.
Earlier in the women's singles event, Saina was trailing her opponent 5-11 at the mid-break of the first game. However, she took seven consecutive points to level and then take the lead.
Rituparna, on the other hand, wasn't going down easily and kept Saina on her toes throughout the first game. The first game was a close-fought affair with Saina eventually taking the opening game 21-19.
In the second game, Saina seemed confident and maintained a healthy gap at all times, leading her compatriot 11-9 at mid-break of the second game.
Rituparna tried hard to make a comeback but it proved difficult for her to catch up as Saina ran away the game, winning it 21-14.
In the men's singles event, Sameer Verma had a to dig deep to see off China's Zhou Zeqi. Defending champion Sameer led his opponent 11-7 at mid-break of the first game.
The Chinese wasn't backing down and continued to take points, while the Indian maintained a slender lead. Eventually, Sameer won the first game 21-18.
In the second game, the Chinese led the Indian from the start and did not let him settle. After taking a 11-7 lead at mid-break of the second game, Zhou Zeqi took six consecutive points towards the end of the game to take the match into the decider.
The decider was closely contested for first half of the game, however, Sameer showed his class by upping the ante, which helped him enter the semi-finals by winning the third game 21-11.
Meanwhile in the mixed doubles event, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa beat their Indonesian opponent 20-22, 21-17, 21-11 to proceed further in the tournament.
Both the women's doubles (Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy) and men's doubles pair (Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty) advanced to the semi-finals.