Vladivostock (Russia): Former national champion Sourabh Verma pulled off a come-from-behind win over Japan’s Koki Watanabe in the summit clash to claim his first title of the season at the USD 75,000 Russia Open Tour Super 100 tournament here on Sunday.
The 25-year-old from Dhar (Madhya Pradesh), who is on a comeback trail after recovering from injuries, overcame world no 119 Watanabe 19-21 21-12 21-17 in the finals that lasted exactly an hour at the Sport Hall Olympic.
Second-seeded Indian mixed doubles pair of Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg, however, suffered a 19-21 17-21 loss to Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Min Kyung Kim of Korea in the finals to settle for a runners-up finish.
Struggled in 1st game, recovers later
- Sourabh was left to do the catch-up act in the opening game as Watanabe slowly and steadily distanced himself after opening up an initial slender lead of 2-0. The Japanese managed to move ahead and pocket the opening game.
- In the second game, Sourabh cut down his errors and surged to 7-3 lead and held an 11-6 advantage at the break. After the breather, he continued to march ahead and eventually roared back into contest comfortably.
- In the decider, Watanabe zoomed to a 9-3 lead early on and held an 11-7 advantage at the interval. However, a gritty Sourabh slowly erased the deficit and reeled off four straight points at 17-17 to shut the door on his rival.
First big win after comeback
- The 25-year-old shuttler, who clinched the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold and finished runners-up at Bitburger Open in 2016, had suffered an ankle injury and was out of action for two months.
- After regaining fitness, he made a comeback in New Zealand and Australia but made first round exits in both the events after losing narrowly in the three games. Sourabh had won the All India senior ranking tournament in Bangalore to make the cut for the Asian Games squad.