Sourabh wins gold at Russia Open

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Vladivostok (Russia), July 29 (IANS) Sourabh Verma stood out with his top-of-podium finish performance in the men singles event even as the young mixed doubles duo of Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg finished with the silver medal in the Russia Open Tours Super 100 badminton tournament here.

Sunday’s triumph comes close on the heels of Lakshya Sen’s gold medal winning performance at the Asian Juniors in Jakarta, just a fortnight ago.

The Indian shuttlers continued to put up a stellar display and it was capped by the sixth-seeded Sourabh who scripted a come-from-behind win to triumph over Japan’s Koki Watanabe in the summit clash. He beat the Japanese 18-21, 21-12, 21-17 to clinch his first title of the season in a thriller that lasted exactly an hour.

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In the first game, Sourabh had a lacklustre beginning as he was trailing 5-11 even though Watanabe managed only a slender lead initially. Yet, the Indian showed great character and levelled at 18-18 before the Japanese ran through to finish strongly.

Sourabh, obviously eager to keep himself in the hunt, looked much more composed and with his effective half-court smashes and an equally strong net play, maintained the lead to take the game 21-12.

Watanabe looked resolute to not let his guard down in the decider, surging with an early lead of 9-3. But Sourav staged a fine recovery from nowhere and exhibiting his prowess at rallies, pulled himself upfront, thanks to some clinical baseline smashes and decisive drops.

In his anxiety to catch up with Sourabh, the Japanese made several unforced errors which only helped the Indian’s cause as the Japanese wilted under pressure. Sourabh romped home winners with the game and match at 21-17.

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Earlier, Kuhoo Garg and Rohan Kapoor, who had won the silver at the Lagos International last week, continued their sublime form to repeat the success at the Russian Open. They put up a valiant effort but succumbed 19-21, 17-21 to the Japanese-Russian combine of Vladimir Ivanon and Min Kyung Kim in the final.

–IANS

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