‘Lakshya Sen more in control of his attacking game’
Vimal Kumar advised Lakshya Sen to remain patient and play his attacking game judiciously. Sen had lost to Yang twice earlier this year, finding the going tough against the fast-paced Chinese.Updated: Nov 05, 2019 11:21 IST
Before Lakshya Sen’s final against China’s Weng Hong Yang in the SaarLorLux Open in Germany, his coach Vimal Kumar sent him a series of text messages laying out the gameplan.
He advised Sen to remain patient and play his attacking game judiciously. Sen had lost to Weng twice earlier this year, finding the going tough against the fast-paced Chinese.
This time, however, Sen played his cards well, following the advice of his coach.
The 18-year-old lost the first game but was prepared to slog it out. In the decider, Sen lagged behind 13-16 but did not panic. The Indian shifted gears and was patient in constructing the points, giving nothing away. He won eight points in a row to win his third straight title, the last two coming in consecutive weeks.
A week ago he had also triumphed at the Dutch Open for his first BWF World Tour title beating Yusuke Onodera of Japan in a similar come-from-behind victory.
Kumar is happy that Lakshya did not give away easy points in both finals and worked hard to score. “I told him to have patience against Weng and to finish off points whenever he gets the opportunity to attack,” Kumar said.
“Weng plays fast from the beginning and therefore he needed to stay alert, be ready to retrieve and frustrate him. Lakshya has a good smash but he needs to use it sensibly. The more he plays at the top level, sharper his game will become.”
The teenager is touted as the next big thing of Indian badminton and Sen seems to be in a hurry to reach that pedestal. In March he was ranked outside the top 100 but within seven months he is one the verge breaking into the top 50.
The Dutch Open title saw him jump 20 places to world No 51. Last year he won the Asian Junior Championships title, finished with silver at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and won bronze at the World Junior Championships. This season he has built on that success at the senior level.
Sen’s skills have been honed at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) under India’s badminton legend Padukone himself and former national coach Kumar. Danish great Morten Frost is the recent addition to this team, guiding the youngster as he takes bold steps in international circuit.
In the last two months, Sen has shifted base to Aarhus in Denmark along with three other trainees of PPBA with help of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ). He is getting quality exposure by playing in the competitive Danish league and the difference can been seen in his game.
His father, DK Sen, who is a coach with the Indian junior national team, feels that he is now getting more consistent.
“Earlier he used to panic when his shots were retrieved. Now he is in greater control of his game; the accuracy of his strokes has also improved. The fact that he is able to win these close matches is a sign that he is maturing as a player. The stint in Denmark has also made him more independent.”