NEW DELHI: It might surprise most, but for shuttler Sameer Verma, stunning Hans-Kristian Vittinghus was yet another good day at the office. The youngster from Dhar in Madhya Pradesh had already tasted success against the World No 9 before taking him yet again at the India Open.
“I had beaten him earlier so I had that belief that I could take him down again,” Sameer said after his 21-15, 21-17 victory.
Sameer, a Lin Dan fan, had earlier surprised Vittinghus with a 11-21, 21-14, 25-23 win in the second round of the Syed Modi tournament in 2011. Sameer will next face RMV Gurusaidutt, who pulled off a 21-14, 17-21, 23-21 victory over Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
Gurusaidutt is no stranger to him, as they had competited in the junior circuit. “We know each other quite well. I hope I can continue with my good performance,” said the 20-year-old.
Sameer, brother of former national champion Sourabh Verma, had beaten Malaysia’s Zulfadi Zulkiffli 21-14, 23-21 before accounting for compatriot Abhishek Nayar 21-14, 21-11. Earlier, Parupalli Kashyap had to dig deep to beat Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao. The 65-minute match saw a see-saw battle when finally, Kasyhap, with vociferous support from the crowd, outlasted his opponent 16-21, 21-19, 21-18.
The Glasgow Games gold medallist, who will face qualifier Xue Song, was pleased with his performance: “It’s good to have a tough game like this at the start of the tournament. Hsu is a tricky customer and played a good game. I’m happy that I managed to get a winning start.”
In another match, second seed Kidambi Srikanth powered his way into the second round with a 21-17, 21-16 victory over Thailand’s Tasongsak Saensombbonsuk.
Meanwhile, China’s veteran shuttler Lin Dan, drew loud cheers from the crowd. As soon as his match was announced, almost the entire crowd shifted their focus on him. The two-time Olympic champ didn’t disappoint.
Facing an inexperienced opponent in Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, the 31-year-old played a waiting game, inducing errors of Wang and clinched the match with relative ease. “I did my best in the second game. My younger opponent also did his job well. I will do my best in every match and hope that I can satisfy my fans with my game,” Lin said.
World No 4 Carolina Marin brushed aside her opponent, Neha Pandit, in 21 minutes, snaring the match 21-7, 21-8.
Celebrated Indian pair Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta lost 16-21, 18-21 to seasoned Chinese pair Ou Dongni and Xiaohan Yu.