Guwahati, Dec 25: Rising Indian shuttler Sameer Verma celebrated Christmas with a grand victory, giving Mumbai Rockets a valuable point against Delhi Dashers’ trump player Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League here on Monday.
Sameer wins to put Mumbai Rockets ahead
Sameer outplayed the the higher-ranked Vincent from Hong Kong 15-11, 15-11 in a Men’s Singles’ encounter to not only fetch a second point for his team but also pushed the Delhi team into negative territory.
World No. 6 Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea, however, brought her team back life by overcoming Beiwen Zhang of the USA 12-15, 15-14, 15-9 in the Women’s Singles match.
She showed her class as she came back from a game down and a massive scare in the second to win the first point for the Dashers.
Ji Hyun looked out of sorts in the first game, capitulating to Zhang’s smashes and deceptive play. She was much more control in the second as she raced away to a 13-5 lead. But Zhang launched a sensatiol fightback, clinching the next 8 points to make it 13-all.
At 14-14, Zhang went for broke but her down the line smash missed the target by a mere centimetre to take the game into the decider.
Ji Hyun began on a domint note, jumping to a 4-0 lead riding on her smashes. She held on to the advantage as an error-prone Zhang went down after that without much of a fight.
Earlier, the South Korean-Malaysian duo of Lee Yong Dae & Tan Boon Heong drew on their vast experience to down the Russian pair of Ivan Sozonov & Vladimir Ivanov 14-15, 15-14, 15-10 in the opening Men’s Doubles match.
In an intense battle between near-equals, Yong Dae and Boon Heong struggled against the towering 6 foot 6 inch presence of Ivanov. They failed to ravel his booming smashes and lost the opening game 14-15.
They got into their own in the next though. Despite falling behind midway through the game, they clawed into the contest by tightening their defence. Yong Dae was particularly impressive, covering the court well and killing the key points smartly.
They enjoyed a couple of game points but Sozonov-Ivanov held on to make it 14-14. But they lost the next point to allow Mumbai Rockets an opportunity to assert themselves.
The third game too was tight, with the lead exchanging hands till 5-5. That’s when the Russian pair started making mistakes, repeatedly finding the net in their way. Suddenly, they were down 5-8 and then 7-11. They tried to get back but it was too late.
Ranked No. 19 in the world, Sameer showed his mastery over the court, covering the angles well and toying with the higher ranked Vincent. His cross-court jump smashes were particularly effective, fetching him points almost at well.
The 23-year-old Indian star wrapped up the first game in less than 20 minutes and seemed on his way to another facile win. But at 14-8, a few nerves surfaced and Vincent pulled back three points. But a perfect net drop gave Sameer a comfortable victory.