Odense (Denmark): Rising Indian shuttler Sourabh Verma stunned world number eight and home favourite Peter Hoeg Gade in straight games in the opening round of the Denmark Open here.
The 19-year-old Indian, ranked 32nd in the world, stunned the sixth-seeded former All England champion 21-18, 21-14 in a contest lasting 42 minutes.
Sourabh, who was knocked out in the first round of the recent National Championships in Srinagar, will now take on Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in his next match.
The teenager did not get overawed by his five-time European champion opponent and matched his experience quite well on the court. With 15 smash winners in the course of the match, Sourabh displayed lot of grit against the 35-year-old crowd favourite.
“He played intelligently,” Gade was quoted as saying by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) website. “He was very patient and didn’t rush in as I expected him to. He looks like a good prospect for India, but he will have to be consistent,” he added.
Sourabh, for his part, reflected on how he had idolised Gade while growing up. “It’s a dream come true, to beat him,” the BWF website quoted the Indian as saying. “While preparing for the match, I didn’t want to worry that I was playing Gade. I just concentrated on playing my game.”
Meanwhile, returning to the court after a two month break, Saina Nehwal made a rampaging start to her campaign at the Denmark Open, reaching the second round with a comfortable straight-game victory over Yeon Ju Bae of Korea.
London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina prevailed over Bae 21-17, 21-17 in a 39-minute women's singles match.
In the men's singles, qualifier Anand Pawar put up a fight against fifth seed Sho Sasaki but it was the Japanese who had the last laugh as he saw off the Indian 14-21, 21-15, 21-11 in a 54-minute match.
Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu also fell in the first hurdle after losing 20-22, 19-21 to Indonesian pair of Angga Pratama and Ryan Agung Saputra in the men's doubles.
Saina, ranked fourth in the world, took time to get off the mark and was lagging 1-4 initially but she soon clawed back at 7-7. Bae fought tooth and nail and went neck and neck till 17-17 before the Indian reeled off four straight points to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Saina opened a 5-1 lead and kept her nose ahead to cruise to the second round. Saina will take on Japan's Minatsu Mitani in the second round.