Badminton - Lakshya Sen
Lakshya Sen, who won the Indian Open earlier this year, keeps himself in the hunt for the prestigeous All England Badminton Championships. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Lakshya Sen, the World Championships bronze medallist who is touted as Indian badminton’s next big thing, advanced to the semi-finals of men’s singles without breaking a sweat as China’s Lu Guang Zu gave a walkover in their quarter final clash of the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships on Friday.

A tough semi-final, however, is in store for Sen as he will play the winner of the match between Lee Zii Jia and Kento Momota.

Later in the day, Kidambi Srikanth, ranked world No. 12 and a silver medallist in the last Worlds, will be seen in action while men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and women’s doubles Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand will also play their second-round matches.

Earlier on Thursday, the 20-year old Sen, who reached the finals of German Open last week, defeated world No 3 Anders Antonsen 21-16, 21-18 in his second-round match.

Meanwhile, PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, suffered an upset 19-21, 21-16, 17-21 loss to world No 13 Sayaka Takahashi of Japan.

Takahashi went toe-to-toe with world No. 7 Sindhu in the first game and broke away right at the end to take a surprise 1-0 lead. In the second game, the Indian ace produced an improved performance and brought the contest back on level terms. However, it wasn’t Sindhu’s day as Sayaka Takahashi took the third game to shock the former world champion.

Saina Nehwal also went down fighting against the reigning world champion and world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi 14-21, 21-17, 17-21 in 50 minutes.

Yamaguchi was on course for a victory in straight games but Saina Nehwal, a former world No 1, clawed her way back into the match late in the second game and took the match to a decider. Trailing 11-3 at the break in the third game, Saina almost pulled off a brilliant comeback but Akane Yamaguchi’s early lead proved to be crucial.