India’s Sameer Verma ended Japan’s Kento Momota’s unbeaten streak since August 2017 in straight games to reach the semi-finals of the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament in Basel on Friday.
Former world number 2 Momota, who was banned in 2016 for visiting a casino by Nippon Badminton Association, had lost just one match since coming back in July 2017 and was considered the favourite despite the Indian being seeded second in the tournament.
However, on Friday, Verma proved to be too strong for the 23-year-old Japanese winning the quarterfinal encounter 21-17, 21-16 in 44 minutes to set up a last four clash against Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen, who defeated RMV Gurusaidutt in the other quarters.
In the opening game, Verma kept pace with Momota from the start and opened up a 13-9 lead with a burst of five consecutive points only for the latter to respond by winning six straight point to regain the lead.
However, Verma again bagged five straight points to open up a 19-16 lead and then held on to the advantage to draw first blood.
Momota started the second game better and was always in lead till 15-11. But Sameer won ten of the next 11 points with two five point bursts to inflict the first defeat of the year on Momota.
However, it was curtains for men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Shlok Ramchandran as they lost 21-13, 21-18 against Thailand’s Maneepong Jongjit and Nanthakarn Yordphaisong.
Kashyap continues fine run
In Vienna, second seed P Kashyap reached the last four without dropping a game so far in the Austrian Open International Challenge when he defeated seventh seed Victor Svendsen of Denmark 21-17, 21-19.
He will now face fifth seed Raul Must of Estonia.