Swiss Open: Sameer Verma beats Kento Momata to reach semis as Gurusaidutt crashes out

Swiss Open: Sameer Verma beats Kento Momata to reach semis as Gurusaidutt crashes out

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Indian shuttler Sameer Verma kept India's hopes alive at the Swiss Open 2018 as he progressed into the semi-finals of the tournament with a stunning victory over Kento Momata. Gurusaidutt, however, was eliminated by Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen, who will face Verma in the semis on Saturday.

Former Japan World number 2 Kento Momata was on an unbeaten run since August 2017 in the build-up to the Swiss Open. After his return in July last year following a ban by Nippon Badminton Association in 2016 owing to illegal gambling, Momata had lost only one match and was considered to be one of the favourites to win this tournament.

However, the Indian shuttler, who was seeded at number two for the tournament, had other plans as he proved to be too strong for Momata to handle. Verma dominated the quarter-final match as he won the encounter in straight sets by a scoreline of 21-17, 21-16 in 44 minutes to reach the semi-finals at the Swiss Open 2018.

In the first game, Verma was toe-to-toe with his counterpart right from the start and opened up a 13-9 lead after he won five consecutive points only for Momata to respond late, who had to win six straight points to regain the lead. However, a determined Verma bagged five straight points again, which helped him open up a 19-16 lead that he eventually held on to the advantage and draw first blood.

Momota began the second game in a strong manner and was always ahead of Verma until 15-11. But Sameer went on to win 10 of the next 11 points, quite unbelievably, with two five-point bursts to make Momata suffer his first defeat of the year.

However, the same could not be said about Verma's fellow compatriot and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, who crashed out of the tournament after losing to Wangcharoen in the quarter-finals 8-21, 15-21 in 35 minutes.

Gurusaidutt fell behind 0-3 early on and even though he managed to improve and grab a slender 4-3 lead, his Thai opponent raced to a 10-4 lead in no time to win the opening game with ease. In the second game, Gurusaidutt trailed once again by a scoreline of  3-10 before gradually narrowing the gap to 14-16, but Wangcharoen changed gears to seal the contest without much trouble to seal the win.

Verma will now face Wangcharoen in the semi-final encounter tomorrow.

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