New Delhi: Lakshya Sen, the 20-year-old badminton sensation of India, showed that his World Championship bronze was no flash in the plan on Friday. The Almora-born youngster came back strongly for a win over HS Prannoy to make the last four while top seed PV Sindhu also took her designated spot in the semi-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022 in New Delhi.
Sen rallied from a game down to beat Prannoy 14-21, 21-9, 21-14 in exactly an hour in the men’s singles quarter-final. In the two other all-Indian clashes of the day, Sindhu defeated Ashmita Chaliha 21-7, 21-18 while Aakarshi Kashyap overcame the challenge of Malvika Bansod 21-12, 21-15 in the women’s singles category.
The Sen versus Prannoy clash was definitely the marquee clash of the day and the two players did not disappoint in terms of effort and aggression. The youngster started with his trademark attacking instinct and took an early lead. However, the more experienced Prannoy then began to step on the gas and his down the line smashes did hurt Sen’s gameplan and the third seed began to make mistakes. But there was not much to differentiate between the two till 13-13 before the former eight of the next nine points to pocket the game.
Speaking later, Lakshya said: “(In the) first game both of us were playing really fast and the aggression was also there. After the second game we started to rally more and I was a lot more comfortable.” Lakshya will now face NG Tze Yong of Malaysia tomorrow.
In the day’s other match, Sindhu looked like racing away to victory against Chaliha when she pocketed the opening game 21-7. But if she was looking for yet another easy outing, her opponent wasn’t ready to just surrender without a fight.
Chaliha has for long been considered a special talent among the next generation shuttlers in the country and the 22-year-old from Assam showcased some of her attacking skills to put her much illustrious compatriot under pressure.
However, the experience of Sindhu made the difference at the business end of the second game with the score tied at 15-15. The top seed started moving her opponent a lot more and though Chaliha jumped and dived to keep the shuttle in play, but it wasn’t enough to force a decider.
In men’s doubles, top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan booked their semi-final berth with a 21-12, 21-14 over Norway’s Torjus Flaaten and Vegard Rikheim. Second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Sen also reached the last four stage after defeating Singapore’s Hee Yong Kai Terry and Loh Kean Hean 21-18, 21-18.
The Indian combination will now face eighth seeded French combination of Fabien Delrue and William Villeger, who got the better of Ireland’s Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds 21-9, 23-21 in the other quarter-finals.