Taipei, September 5: 2016 champion Sourabh Verma progressed to the second round of the Chinese Taipei Open 2019 with a straight-game win over Japan's Kazumasa Sakai in men's singles in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday (September 4).
The reigning national champion, overcame world number 44 Sakai 22-20 21-13 in 38 minutes to set up a clash with top seed and local favourite Chou Tien Chen in the second round.
In the opening game, Sourabh, erased a 3-6 deficit to grab a slender 11-10 lead at the break and the Indian quickly pocketed two more points but the Japanese came back to hold a 15-14 advantage.
Sourabh, however, kept his nose ahead at 18-16 and held two game points at 20-18. Sakai reeled off two points to draw level before the Indian marched ahead to seal the opening game.
In the second game, Sakai surged to a 6-0 lead but Sourabh turned the tables, jumping to a 9-8 lead before managing a small 11-10 advantage at the interval. After the break, Sourabh looked in a different zone as he kept gathering points at will, even as Sakai crumbled.
Sourabh, who won the Hyderabad Open last month, was the only Indian left in the World Tour Super 300 tournament as women's singles player Riya Mookerjee and women's doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant suffered defeats in their opening round matches.
Riya lost 21-19 11-21 13-21 to Thailand's Supanida Katethong, while doubles pair Aparna and Prajakta suffered a 19-21 23-21 15-21 to local pair Cheng Yu-Pei and Juang Tz-Ren.
(With PTI inputs)