Need to get to my best before All England: Sourabh

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New Delhi: Shuttler Sourabh Verma says it was his perfect execution of plans which helped him clinch his second national title but insisted he needs to work harder to challenge the best in the world at All England Championship next month.

“I am really happy to win my second National title. It has been a great week for me. I was able to focus and perform well and also recover well after the matches. I guess my execution was good and so I was rewarded,” Sourabh told the media.

The 24-year-old from Madhya Pradesh was hardly stretched in the tournament as none of the matches went to three games but Sourabh said the matches were not that easy.

“It was not easy, I was aware that I can’t let my guard down against these youngsters, who are very talented and eager to win. So I prepared for each match and always was on my toes to execute my plans.”

After being left on the sidelines due to a series of injuries, Sourabh has slowly been gaining confidence with runners-up finishes at Belgium, Poland and Bitburger Open and winning the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold.

“I have been playing well. Even last week at Lucknow I lost the match against Sai Praneeth from a good position. So I was just telling myself that I don’t make the same mistakes. I think I’m in good shape in terms of fitness and form right now,” said Sourabh, who won his first international title at the 2011 Bahrain International Challenge.

“But I think I have to really work on my overall game and get some high level training to be in my best shape for the hectic upcoming schedule. International tournaments are a different level and I will have to work harder for the All England and Swiss Open, which I am playing next.”

The 2011 National champion, Sourabh had reached two Grand Prix Gold finals at Syed Modi in 2011 and Malaysia Open in 2014 but injuries never allowed him to play for a longer tenure on the international circuit.

Till 2014, Sourabh was doing fine but after December he first injured his elbow and then a knee injury further pegged him back.

Sourabh, who had a career-best ranking of World no 35, is eyeing a place in top 30 by June.

“You have to be prepared for all kinds of style and strokes because the best of the world will play this tournament and they keep changing their strategies on court and as a player you have to be up for it,” he said.

“I really need to be consistent and will be targeting atleast the quarterfinals so that I can reach World No. 30 before June. Beside, the other international events, India Open also is an event where I want to do well. It is there on my radar,” he added.

Sourabh had to use all his experience to deny 15-year-old Lakshya Sen a fairytale end as he tamed the junior world number one 21-13 21-12 in the summit clash at the 81st edition in Patna yesterday.

“I had played him at the Syed Modi, so I had an idea about his style of game. I accordingly planned against him and took it as just another match,” he said.

“The way Lakshya Sen played the whole tournament, beating the likes of H S Prannoy and Harsheel Dani, I think it is great for Indian badminton. He is a good player with great defence and offence. His rally game and dribble and half smashes are some of his plus points. (PTI)

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