Lakshya Sen stuns world no. 3 Antonsen to enter All England quarterfinals; Sindhu, Saina and Srikanth out

March 18, 2022

BadmintonAll England Championships


World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen stunned world No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in straight games to progress to the men’s singles quarterfinals but it was curtains for Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal at the All England Championships here on Thursday.

Sen, the 20-year-old from Almora, who had claimed his maiden Super 500 title at India Open in January and then reached the finals of German Open last week, notched up an upset 21-16 21-18 win over third seed Antonsen.

Antonsen is a two-time medallist at World Championships in 2019 Basel and 2021 Huelva respectively. It was their first meeting at the international stage.

Sen will face China’s Lu Guang Zu in the quarter-final.

Fifth seeded Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also entered the last eight stage after making short work of Mark Lamfuss and Marvin Seidel of Germany 21-7 21-7.

World no 7 Sindhu, however, made an early exit after going down 19-21 21-16 17-21 to left-handed Takahashi, ranked 13th, in an hour and six minutes second round match.

Saina Nehwal also bowed out after her gallant fight ended with a loss to second seed Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in a thrilling three-game match in the second round.

Former world No. 1 Saina, the London Olympics bronze medallist, lost 14-21 21-17 17-21 world No. 2 Yamaguchi in a 50-minute women’s singles clash.

It was a much improved performance from the Indian, who had lost in straight games to Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon at German Open last week.

Later in the day, World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth also bowed out after losing 21-9 18-21 19-21 to Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a second round that last just over an hour.

In a significant result, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also entered the quarterfinal after their sixth seeded opponents Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu from Indonesia retired in the second game lagging 14-19 after winning the first game 21-18.

Sen’s tactical nous

Sen gave ample display of his tactical acumen as he dished out a defensive game and kept Antonsen away from the net to lead 11-9 at the first break. He kept things under control after the interval to move to a 13-9 lead and maintained the lead to pocket the opening game.

Sen kept his clears close to the baseline and tried to use his smashes judiciously to jump to a 9-5 lead early on before grabbing a four-point advantage at the breather.

Antonsen fought his way back to 14-14, riding on six points on the trot. The duo moved 14-14 to 16-16 before Sen managed to eke out a two-point lead at 18-16.

He kept his nerves and unleased a cross court smash to grab three match points. Antonsen saved one after an exciting rally but the Indian shut the door next to make it to the last 8.

Coming into the match with an equal 4-4 head-to-head record, Sindhu was left to do the catch up job as Takahashi led the opening match for most part even though the Indian kept snapping at her heels and had levelled scores at 11-1 and 15-15 before moving to 19-20 at one stage.

Stung by the reversal, Sindhu came out all cylinders blazing, gallping to a huge 14-4 lead, a gap which the Japanese couldn’t bridge as the Indian bounced back.

In the decider, Sindhu managed to open up a slender 8-6 lead but Takahashi soon turned the tables and then reeled off five straight points to jump to 15-10.

Sindhu tried to erase the deficit and made it 17-18 before the Japanese sealed the issued comfortably.

Sindhu had made a second round exit at German Open as welll.

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