All England Open: Lakshya Sen wins on debut, Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth exit in 1st roundMarch 12, 2020
Teenager Lakshya Sen impressed on his All England Open debut as the Indian shuttler defeated World No. 18 Lee Cheuk Yiu of Chinese Taipei to progress to the 2nd round in Birmingham on Wednesday.
However, there were major disappointments for India as Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth’s All England Open 2020 campaigns ended as early as the 1st round. Star shuttler PV Sindhu though progressed to the 2nd round with a comfortable win on Wednesday.
Lakshya Sen, ranked 29, came back from behind to beat Lee in 3 games in a 1st-round match that extended to 59 minutes. Lakshya lost the 1st game 17-21 but managed to make a strong comeback to take the match 17-21, 21-8, 21-17.
Lakshya started the 1st game well with a 7-4 lead but let Lee claw back and run away with the lead. However, the highly-rated teenager from the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy did not repeat the mistake in the next two games en route to a hard-fought win.
Lakshya Sen, who stunned Asian Games champion Jonathan Christie at Badminton Asia Team Championships in February, will take on 2nd seed and former world champion Viktor Axelsen in the 2nd round of the prestigious tournament.
Lakshya’s win keeps India’s men’s singles campaign alive at All England Open as big guns suffered disappointing 1st-round exits on Wednesday.
Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth exit in Round 1
World Championships bronze medalist and World No. 10 Sai Praneeth came up with an ordinary display of badminton as he lost to lower-ranked Chinese shuttler Zhao Jun Peng.
Sai Praneeth went down 12-21, 13-21 to the 36th-ranked Chinese shuttler in just 33 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Kidambi Srikanth was outclassed by reigning Olympic champion and 3rd seed Chen Long in straight games in their 1st-round meetings.
Senior shuttler Parupalli Kashyap’s campaign also ended in the 1st round as he retired early in the 1st game of his tournament opener against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.
Saina Nehwal disappoints yet again
It was another ordinary performance from London Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal as she was outclassed in just 28 minutes by 3rd seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the 1st round of women’s singles competition at All England 2020.
Saina lost her 1st round match 11-21, 8-21 as her form on the BWF tour continues to slide. Saina, who has slipped to World No. 20 in the women’s singles rankings, suffered her 3rd 1st-round exit of the season.
With Wednesday’s defeat, Saina’s chances of qualifying for Tokyo Olympic took a massive hit. Saina is currently ranked No. 22 on the Race To Tokyo charts (Olympic qualification) rankings and she needs to squeeze into the top 16 before the cut-off date of April 28 to stand a chance of featuring in the Tokyo Games.
Earlier in the day, Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu clinched a comfortable win over USA’s Beiwen Zhang to progress to the 2nd round.