Lakshya Sen storms into All England Open semis - Hindustan Times
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Lakshya Sen storms into All England Open semis

Mar 16, 2024 06:25 AM IST

Up against former champion Lee Zii Jia, Sen displayed nerves of steel to eventually win a thriller and enter the men’s singles semi-finals

Down 20-22, 14-16, Lakshya Sen was almost on the verge of exiting the $1.3 million All England Open Badminton Championships.

India's Lakshya Sen in action(AFP)
India's Lakshya Sen in action(AFP)

Up against former champion Lee Zii Jia, Sen displayed nerves of steel to eventually win a thriller and enter the men’s singles semi-finals of the Super 1000 tournament in Birmingham late on Friday.

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The world No.18 won the quarter-final battle 20-22, 21-16, 21-19 in a marathon contest that lasted an hour and 11 minutes to better his career record to 4-1 against the world No.10.

A runner-up at Arena Birmingham two years ago, Sen had been going through a rough patch the last few months to suffer seven first round exits on the BWF World Tour. In the eighth he was ousted in the second round.

But last week the reigning Commonwealth Games champion staged a stunning comeback to reach the semi-finals of the $850,000 French Open in Paris. After beating world No.19 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the opener last week, he went on to defeat 2023 All England champion Li Shifeng of China and former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore to reach his first semi-final since July 2023.

Though he lost to reigning world champion Kuvlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the semis, the 22-year-old from Almora has continued his momentum in Birmingham, reaching the last four stage the second successive week. On the way, he beat world No.3 Anders Antonsen and now a former All England champion.

And what a win it was. In a topsy turvy contest where after sharing the first two games, it all boiled down to the decider where Sen led for most part. At 19-15 it looked like the Indian had sealed the contest in his favour before Lee staged a brilliant comeback towards the end to level the score at 19-all. Sen held his nerves at the end to win the next two points and clinch the contest.

Next up, Sen will face the winner of the quarter-final between Chinese second seed Shi Yu Qi and Indonesian Jonatan Christie.

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