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Guwahati Masters: Sameer Verma, Aakarshi Kashyap Among Indians To Make Pre-Quarters

Former world number 11, Verma, who has been struggling with injuries for the last few months, prevailed over compatriot Kiran 21-13 21-13 in a second round men's singles clash that lasted 32 minutes.

Sameer Verma is currently 31st in the BWF rankings.
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Sameer Verma upset third seed Kiran George, while fifth seed Aakarshi Kashyap saved a match point to beat Denmark's Amalie Schulz as a host of Indians advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the Guwahati Masters Super 100 on Wednesday. (More Badminton News)

Former world number 11, Verma, who has been struggling with injuries for the last few months, prevailed over compatriot Kiran 21-13 21-13 in a second round men's singles clash that lasted 32 minutes.

In a round one women's singles clash, Kashyap kept her nerves after losing the opening game to beat Schulz 15-21 21-17 22-20. The match saw the Indian playing catch-up in the business end of the third game after her opponent clinched four straight points from 13-16 to take a one-point lead.

Kashyap saved a match point at 19-20 and then bagged two consecutive points to set up a clash against Chinese Taipei's Lin Sih Yun. Also advancing to the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals are Ira Sharma and Tanya Hemanth, who defeated their more illustrious Malaysian opponents.

Ira came from a game down to beat world No. 69 Wong Ling Ching 17-21 21-17 21-12, while Tanya got the better of top Malaysian Kisona Selvaduray 21-16 15-21 21-16.

Ira will now face another Malaysian Karupathevan Letshanaa, while Tanya takes on compatriot Malvika Bansod for a place in the quarterfinals. 

Malvika had defeated Uganda's Fadilah Rafi 21-10 21-10 in the earlier round.

Men’s national champion Mithun Manjunath and junior world championships bronze medallist Ayush Shetty registered contrasting wins to advance to the next round. 

While seeded seveth Mithun defeated compatriot Hemanth Gowda 21-14 21-10 in the second round, Shetty overcame Indonesia’s Jason Alexander 21-12 14-21 21-17.

Later in the day, women’s singles national champion Anupama Upadhyaya advanced to the pre-quarters with a 21-11 21-16 win over Bilqis Prasista of Indonesia.

But the marquee match of the day was the clash between 29-year-old Verma and 23-year-old Kiran -- two players from different generations and different style. 

Verma, who has now slipped to 91 and is playing in only his ninth event in the last 12 months, was slow to get off the blocks and trailed Kiran 1-5 in the opening game.

But he clawed his way back to level the score at 10-10 and won eight of the nine points from 13-12 to draw first blood.

He was much more clinical in the second game, racing to an 8-3 lead. Though Kiran tried to fight back and won five consecutive points at one stage to close the gap at 15-11 but it was too little too late.

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