A day after he defeated former junior world No 1 Lakshya Sen, legendary Chinese shuttler Lin Dan ended Sameer Verma’s campaign with a straight-games win in Auckland on Friday in the quarter-final of the New Zealand Open Super 300 tournament.
B Sai Praneeth, meanwhile, was the only Indian to make it to the weekend as he wrapped up a comfortable win over Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne. The world No 18 needed just 29 minutes to triumph 21-7, 21-9 in the quarter-final. He will now play second seed Jonatan Christie in the semi-final on Saturday.
Sai Praneeth raced to a 8-0 lead in the first game and there was no looking back from there. He had the lead for the entire duration of match and proved too good for the 33-year-old veteran from Sri Lanka, ranked more than a 100 places below him.
Sameer, the world No 26, started off well against Lin Dan, winning nine consecutive points at one stage to take a 19-14 lead. But the two-time Olympic champion showed his class, reeling off seven straight points to win the first game 21-19. That comeback seemed to have knocked the wind out of Sameer’s sails as he didn’t put much resistance in the second game. Lin Dan eventually triumphed 21-19, 21-9 in 40 minutes.
In men’s doubles, B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri lost 10-21, 15-21 against fourth seeds Thailand’s Bodin Isara and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet.