Thailand Open: Lakshya Sen moves into the semis, Kiran George loses
Lakshya next faces a tough outing as he faces Thai second seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn for a place in Sunday’s final
The two Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) boys playing the quarter-finals of the $420,000 Thailand Open experienced contrasting results at the Indoor Stadium Huamark in Bangkok on Friday.
While Lakshya Sen entered his first semi-final since winning the Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham last year, Kiran George’s fine run at the Super 500 competition finally came to an end in the quarter-finals.
Having beaten tougher opponents in the first two rounds, it was a relatively easier contest for Lakshya who beat Malaysian qualifier Leong Jun Hao 21-19, 21-11 in 41 minutes. This was the Indian’s second win in as many outings against the world No.65 at the senior level.
Lakshya next faces a tough outing as he faces Thai second seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn for a place in Sunday’s final. Backed by the home crowd, Vitidsarn will be aiming for his second final of 2023, having won the India Open in New Delhi in January.
“Lakshya won comfortably. In the first game, he was tentative, but he pulled through. All these wins are good for his confidence. Lakshya’s patience will be tested tomorrow. They have beaten each other. It will be a 50-50 game against Kunlavat," said PPBA head coach and former chief national coach U Vimal Kumar.
Kiran, on the other hand, was not that lucky as he went down 16-21, 17-21 in 41 minutes to France’s Toma Junior Popov.
“Kiran was not allowed to play much at the net where he is strong. Also, the tall French player was more aggressive and scored over Kiran in flat exchanges. The option for Kiran today was to keep a good length and that didn’t happen," said Vimal.
Despite the loss, Kiran would have gained good experience at the Thailand Open with two good victories against two top Chinese players. She started the tournament stunning third seed Shi Yuqi, following it up with a win against Weng Hongyang in the second round who reached the final of the Malaysia Masters last week.