Sourabh wins Hyderabad Open, Ashwini-Sikki finishes runners-up

Sourabh Verma (L) and the duo of Ashwini Ponnapa and Sikki Reddy during Hyderrabad open on Sunday.
Sourabh Verma (L) and the duo of Ashwini Ponnapa and Sikki Reddy during Hyderrabad open on Sunday.

HYDERABAD, Aug 11: Reigning National champion Sourabh Verma capped an impressive week at the Hyderabad Open with a thrilling win over Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the summit clash to claim the men’s singles title here today.
The 26-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, who had won the Slovenian International in May this year, showed great composure as he outwitted World No. 44 Kean Yew 21-13 14-21 21-16 in a 52-minute final clash at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here.
“I am extremely pleased with my performance this week. I pulled out some crucial matches in the previous rounds and in the final as well I played well,” Sourabh said.
“I was leading in the second game after winning the first but I lost focus a bit and tried to quickly complete the match. My opponent also changed his game and it was difficult to come back. In the third game, I changed my strategy and it worked. Overall I am happy with the way I performed this week.”
Top seeds Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, however, squandered an opportunity to register a maiden women’s doubles title, losing 17-21 17-21 to Korean combination of Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun in the summit clash.
Sourabh made a good start as he jumped to a 6-2 lead in the opening game, before grabbing a 11-4 advantage. The Indian kept moving ahead to comfortably pocket the first game to earn the bragging rights.
In the second game, Sourabh once again jumped to a 5-0 lead but Kean Yew clawed back at 10-10. The Indian held a slender 11-10 lead at the break but the Singaporean reeled off five straight points from 14-13 to eventually roar back into the contest.
The decider was a close affair as Sourabh and Kean Yew started on an even knell before the Indian grabbed a 11-10 lead at the interval. Sourabh then kept extending his distance from the Singaporean to comfortably shut the door on his rival.
Sourabh, who had won two Super 100 titles last year at the Dutch Open and Russian Open, doesn’t have any financial support and has been playing tournaments on his own.
He reached the semifinals at US Open and quarterfinals at Canada Open, besides winning the Slovenia Open earlier this year.
“I still don’t have any sponsor or any help from anybody. Nothing has changed since the Nationals, I still pay for the tournaments. But I don’t want to think about things which I can’t control. I want to stay fit and focus on my game,” said Sourabh, who had an ankle issue at Azerbaijan International in June.
Asked about his future events, Sourabh said: “I will play Chinese Taipei Open (Super 300) and Vietnam Open (Super 100) next in September.” (PTI)