Fit-again Guru, Sameer finding their way back
Finding their way back after a string of injuries left them on the sidelines, RMV Gurusaidutt and young Sameer Verma today received a big confidence-boost following their stunning victories in the opening round of the India Super Series here.
New Delhi: Finding their way back after a string of injuries left them on the sidelines, RMV Gurusaidutt and young Sameer Verma today received a big confidence-boost following their stunning victories in the opening round of the India Super Series here.
While Guru was plagued by a spate of injuries mainly after his Commonwealth Games bronze medal feat in Glasgow, Sameer literally spent almost two years watching his compatriots breaking new grounds after hurting his back and then suffering from Appendicitis.
However, the duo battled through the tough times and is hoping to make a mark on the international circuit. World no.
60 Guru eked out a hard-fought 21-14 17-21 23-21 win over Korea's Lee Dong Keun, ranked 31, Sameer, who has slipped past 200 in ranking, sent packing world no. 9 Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-15 21-17.
"The last year has been tough for me. Probably six weeks of break then two weeks of training then one tournament and then once again I am injured. This win should take me forward," Guru said.
"Last year I picked up an Achilles injury in the Japan Open when I was playing against Takuma Ueda. After that there was a knee injury before the Commonwealth. Then there was a back injury before the Denmark and France Opens and then during the Syed Modi, I hurt my neck.
"So Polish Open was the comeback. I just took that tournament to start off. The conditions were completely different and it didn?t suit me. But I like the conditions here because I have always had good matches here in the Thomas and Uber Cup, India Open. I like to play on these courts," he added.
For 20-year-old Sameer, on the other hand, it was a long wait to play proper badminton as he took a long time to recover from the back injury which he suffered in 2012.
"In 2012, I had injured my back but I could not really recover after that. I was going to physiotherapy. Last July, I had Appendicitis so I was out of the scene. I started training again in August. So I lost a lot of time since 2012, I could not really play. Now I am completely fit," said the soft-spoken Sameer.
After recovering from appendicitis, Sameer played the Tata Open and Syed Modi GPG in December and January but was knocked out in the second round. He then played at the inter-State, inter-zonal team championship and helped Air India win the tournament.
He also reached the finals of the 79th Senior National championship in February.
Talking about his match against Hans-Kristian, Sameer said, "I was confident of playing well. In 2011 Syed Modi, I had beaten him in three games in pre-quarters. So I was confident to beat him. I was under pressure in the starting thinking how I will play. After I started playing it became comfortable."
"I feel a lot of confident after beating Hans. He is a top 10 player. He is a rally player, so I wanted to finish the match quickly, so I was attacking right from the start," said the former national junior champion and Asian Junior Championship silver medallist.
Guru and Sameer will clash tomorrow for a place in the quarters tomorrow.
"Next I will be playing Guru. We have been practising together, so it will be 19-20 between us. It is the first time we will be playing in a competition," said sameer, who has been training at the Gopichand Academy for more than four years now.
While Guru and Sameer set the tone early on, top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, K Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap also made their way to the second round with contrasting victories.
After beating Riya Mukherjee in her opening match, top seed Saina Nehwal said, "I think most of the girls got first round easy. But still Riya played a very good match. In the second game, she gave me a good fight."
Asked about her fitness, she said, "I am okay. No player is fit always. The pain is still there but I am feeling okay."
On being the World no. 1, the girl from Hyderabad said, "Right now, the important thing for me is that I am playing well. Whether my ranking is 1,2 or 10, it doesn?t matter. For me I need to be fit first and whomever I play I have to give my 100 per cent."
Talking about her All England final loss to Carolina Marin, the Indian said, "The last six-seven months I am coming out with very good performances, which I never expected."
"The first thing I am thinking is to train the way I want to and that what I have been doing with Vimal Sir. We are not thinking about results but focusing on areas where I am weak at. I need to first correct them and become a better player on court and try to pick up those shots."
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who also got into good rhythm after recovering from a hamstring injury with a tricky 16-21 21-19 21-18 win over Chinese Taipei's Hsu Jen Hao, said it was a tricky opening match but he was happy with his performance.
"I lost to him in Asian championship, so I was little tentative throughout the match but I trusted my fitness as I have put on a good effort last two weeks. No matter how much I train, I feel out of sort in the first round. He is a very tricky player, and I think I played well today," he said.
"I tried to be more alert on my legs. I was able to play my strokes. I was making many errors with my smashes, crosses and not hitting the center of the racquet. The guy didn't have a lot of attacking strokes but you can't play a slow rally game in this court. I am sure I will do well in the next game."