Badminton: Jorgensen's back-to-back titles dream ends in Hong Kong as Verma makes final

HONG KONG (AFP) - Denmark's Jan Jorgensen's hopes of securing a second Superseries title in a week were crushed on Saturday, as the China Open champion dropped his semi-final at the Hong Kong Open.

The world No. 3, who seemed flat after going the distance to win in Fuzhou last Sunday, failed to keep his winning streak alive, losing in straight games, 19-21, 22-24, in a major upset to India's Sameer Verma.

"My overall game was not good enough. I went all out last week then didn't practice for two days," he told AFP.

Verma kept the Dane in constant motion and out of sync, chalking up a 7-1 lead early in the first game that Jorgensen struggled to overcome.

"I just played my game, nothing else... In my mind I was calm," said Verma, who is ranked 43rd globally.

The underdog employed relentless pressure throughout the match and now advances to his first superseries final appearance.

He will square off with Hong Kong's Angus Ng in Sunday's final, pitting the unlikely contender against the hometown favourite.

In earlier action, world No. 1 Carolina Marin's season-long Superseries drought continued, after the Olympic gold medallist was felled by Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying in their semi-final contest.

The defending Hong Kong Open champion appeared nothing short of unstoppable all week, powering through opponents with whipping overheads and slicing drop shots along with healthy servings of her signature shrieks.

But the tournament top seed failed to maintain a rhythm over the three-game semi-final as frustration mounted while Tai remained cool and resilient during the longer rallies in her 21-17, 14-21, 21-16 win.

"I'm really disappointed with the game today," said Marin, who won the Olympic gold and European championship this summer but has failed to clinch a Superseries title in 2016.

"It's been a long season and I've been very tired."

The rivals battled shot-for-shot in the opening game with Tai gradually seizing the momentum as Marin struggled to find form, before the two-time world champion powered back in the second.

But the final game saw Tai rally with the Hong Kong crowd firmly in her corner, as the Spaniard struggled to keep the shuttlecock in play.

"The crowd supported me a lot." said Tai, who knocked out Marin during the quarter-finals of the China Open last week.

"Every time I scored they would shout. I felt very motivated and supported."

Third-ranked Tai is aiming to capture her second superseries title this season and will square off with China Open champion P.V. Sindhu, who beat Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi's in straight games, 21-14, 21-16, late on Saturday.