Indias Sourabh Varma stormed into the final of the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championships-2011 outclassing sixteenth seed Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 26-24,21-13 in the semi-finals on Saturday. The battle lasted for 47 minutes. Unlike the quarter-final match yesterday in which though Sourabh had defeated seventh seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong 23-21,21-19 but he seemed under pressure in the second game when he was trailing 9-15,today Sourabh was confidence personified. Despite Avihingsanon giving a tough fight,he kept the opponent on a slight backfoot even in the first game. Displaying a good net control,he won the first game 26-24. The competitiveness in the first game can be gauged from the fact that the scores were levelled sixteen times during the game.
Sourabh will now face former world champion Taufik Hidayat (seed-2) of Indonesia who beat Wing Ki Wong (seed-5) of Hong Kong 21-16,15-21,21-18 after a marathon semi-final battle which lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
In the mixed doubles semi-finals held late in the evening,the pair of Muhammad Rijal and Debby Susanto of Indonesia shocked the fourth seeded pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta of India 21-15,21-12 with good ease in a matter of 28 minutes. They will now play against the top seeded pair of Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam of Thailand who beat Fran Kurniawan and Shendy Puspa Irawati of Indonesia 21-8,13-21,21-16 in their semi-final clash earlier in the day. In the womens singles semi-finals,second seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand defeated fourth seed Eriko Hirose of Japan 22-20,21-15 in a matter of 40 minutes while Inthanon Ratchanok (seed-3) of Thailand took the same amount of time in quelling aside the challenge of Tsz Ka Chan of Hong Kong 21-16,21-15.
In the men’s doubles semi-finals,the top seeded duo of Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato of Japan defeated eighth seeded pair of Yao Han Ow and Wee Kiong Tan of Malaysia 21-14,21-16 while Andrei Adistia and Christopher Rusdianto of Indonesia beat second seeded Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schoettler of Germany 21-15,21-14.
In the womens doubles,Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao of Singapore beat Eei Hui Chin and Pei Tty Wong of Malaysia 21-18,21-15 while Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna (seed-1) of Japan beat Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon of Malaysia 18-21,21-16,21-19 in their respective semi-final clashes.
The final matches start from 3.00 pm on Sunday.
Sourabhs dream match
Interacting with The Indian Express after the match,20-year-old Sourabh said,Playing against Taufik Hidayak is like a dream come true me. I have just been telling my self that I should play my natural game. I am not putting myself under too much of pressure as I have nothing to lose. Playing in a match against Taukif is a reward in itself.
About todays match he said,hough the first game was tough for me but I played with confidence. In the second game,I took advantage of the fact that the opponent had become tired after some time. I had played against Suppanyu Avihingsanon in the first round of the Tata Open last year and I had defeated him then,so I had an idea of his game. During the interval of the second game Gopichand sir told me to keep the same strategy and to take advantage of the opponents tiredness.
I get tired now: Hidayat
Badminton giant Taufik Hidayat termed his todays semi-final match as a very hard-fought match. I did not play that well in the second game but sometimes that happens with me. Now its not that easy for me as I start feeling tired after some time. He said that the year has not been very good for him as he is not very happy with his ranking. After the Modi Badminton,I will be looking forward to performing well in the tournaments at Korea and Malaysia, he quipped.
The Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association (UPBA) on Saturday honoured Sourabh Varma with a prize money of Rs 1 lakh for his extra-ordinary performances during the ongoing Modi Badminton. Womens Doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa became richer by Rs 3 lakh each for winning a bronze medal at the World Badminton Championships this year.
A selection committee meet of the BAI took place at UP Badminton Academy,Lucknow on Saturday. General secretary BAI Dr Vijai Sinha said that the purpose of the meet was to finalise the team for Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup and a couple of other tournaments.