ASIAN JUNIORS 2012 QF – Indians bury Chinese singles hopes

Top seeded Indians Sameer Verma and Sindhu P.V. took care of the last Chinese competitors in the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships in Gimcheon Korea on Thursday but strong […]

Top seeded Indians Sameer Verma and Sindhu P.V. took care of the last Chinese competitors in the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships in Gimcheon Korea on Thursday but strong challenges remain, particularly from the Japanese camp.

Story and photos by Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Gimcheon

For an Asian Championship to have four different countries represented in singles is rare enough but when none of those four is China, something is definitely amiss.  This year, that something comes in the form of two top seeds from India.

Both Sindhu P.V. (pictured) and Sameer Verma have made ripples already in Grand Prix tournaments but they are both hoping to lay claim to bragging rights at the level this week in Gimcheon

Happy Birthday Sindhu!

Sindhu P.V., after losing at the quarter-final stage at home last year to eventual Asian Junior Champion Sun Yu, finally got her revenge today, winning by a narrow 22-20, 21-19 margin.

“I feel that I have improved my game between when I lost to Sun Yu last year and when I beat her today,” said Sindhu after her quarter-final. She is taller, but even I’m taller so I could beat her with my smashes.

“I was leading in the first game 20-18 but then it was 20-all and I was a little nervous.  They were crucial points so I played my safe game and there were some longer rallies so I could win those because she seemed to be making lots of mistakes.

“After winning the first game, I wasn’t overconfident at all.  I played my safe game and I played with tactics.  But again, I was leading 20-17 and then she started to close in.  I hit a smash into the net so I was like ‘No, it should not be 20-all!’

“But I did leave the shuttle on that last match point and I’m happy that I won because beating her now.

This was Sindhu’s first meeting with Sun Yu since losing to her at home in Lucknow last summer.

“There were so many people there supporting me because that was India.  This time, I am very grateful to my friends who supported to me and to my coaches Hendra Mulyano and Abhinn Shyam Gupta.  I hope I will play well tomorrow and this is a really great day because today is my birthday so it is a really great gift.

“Next I play Busanan from Thailand.  She is playing well and I’ve never played her before she won’t know my game and I won’t know hers.

“Right now, I am #24 in the world but I am #2 in juniors after Ratchanok so I really hope I can win this tournament.”

Singapore’s Liang Xiaoyu had the best chance of giving the girls’ singles a four-nation semi-final but she was stopped in three games by Akane Yamaguchi, one of the heroines of Japan’s mixed team gold medal performance.

Akane thus joins the expected semi-final entry of Nozomi Okuhara (pictured), who dashed the home team’s last singles hope when she trounced Kim Ye Ji in the quarter-finals.

Top seed still a giant-killer

India’s Sameer Verma (pictured) used excellent court coverage and forced both his opponents today to try to keep up.  Two very tall opponents, first Guo Kai of China and then Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong-China, fought to topple the top seed but came up short.

“I have a lot of confidence,” said Sameer after beating Ng Ka Long, “because at the last GP Gold tournament, I beat Tanongsak, then today I beat the last Chinese player, so now I am more confident.

“I also beat Guo Kai in the quarter-finals of last year’s AJC [on home ground at Lucknow] so I am right on track to reach the final again.

“It wasn’t nervousness that caused me problems in the team competition.  I don’t think I had yet recovered from the journey here.

“I had 6 match points against Ng Ka Long but I was playing it safe and was just trying to control it.  It was the right decision.

“My next opponent is the winner here,” said Sameer, glancing down at the match in progress between Kento Momota and Khosit Phetpradab Khosit.  “I don’t have a preference because I haven’t played either of them before.  Right now, I have to focus on the semi-final.”

Kento Momota is the only survivor from among three Japanese players who began Thursday morning’s round of 16.  Kaneko Yuki took down Indonesia’s top entry, Shesar Hiren Rushtavito – the first two Indonesia second seeds he would eliminate – and then made things interesting against Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven (pictured) before finally packing it in in his third of four matches on the day.

Indonesia still has one more hope in singles, as Panji Akbar Sudrajat eliminated the last hope of any part of China when he beat Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei.

Click here for complete Thursday results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @