World championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen progressed to the men’s singles summit clash with a thrilling win but it was curtains for two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open on Saturday. The 20-year-old Sen rallied his way to a 19-21 21-16 21-12 win over world number 60 Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong to enter his maiden World Tour Super 500 summit clash. However, there was disappointment in store in women’s singles as top seed and home favourite Sindhu lost 14-21 21-13 10-21 to sixth seeded Thai Supanida Katethong.
Young Aakarshi Kashyap too had a golden chance but she squandered five game points in the opening game to allow Busanan register a 26-24 21-9 win in the other women’s singles semifinal.
Sen, seeded third, will face reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the summit clash on Sunday in a repeat of Dutch Open final last year.
“It is a good feeling to play my first super 500 final at my home country,” said Sen, who had won two Super 100 titles — Dutch Open and SaarLorLux Open — besides three international challenge at Belgium, Scotland and Bangladesh in 2019.
“The first game was pretty close, I did some errors which cost me. But I kept my calm in the second and third game and managed to it pull off,” he added.
Loh, seeded fifth, was given a walkover in the other semi-finals by Canada’s Brian Yang after developing a sore throat and headache.
In the men’s doubles, world number 10 pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy cruised to a 21-10 21-18 win over France duo of William Villeger and Fabien Delrue to make it to the finals.
Chirag and Satwik will square off against three-time world champion Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia on Sunday. In other results, Indian women’s doubles pair of Haritha Manazhiyil Harinarayan and Ashna Roy lost 12-21 9-21 to fourth seeded Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard of Thailand.
On Sunday, Sen will be itching to set the record straight after losing the Dutch Open final to Loh. Overall, the duo has a 2-2 head-to-head record with Sen losing two of the last three meetings.
“Both of us are playing well, it will be a good match tomorrow and I am really looking forward to playing him,” Sen said about his final clash.
In the men’s singles semifinals, both shuttlers showed their attacking prowess during the last-four clash.
Sen made his opponent move across the court with his returns and used his smashes to good effect to open up a four-point lead at 10-6 after being 2-4 down initially.
The Indian entered the interval at 11-8 after Yong went wide.
After the break, Sen came up with some stiff smashes to bother the Malaysian but he couldn’t sustain the pressure as Yong made it 14-14. The Malaysian left Sen wrong-footed with a precise net shot to take the lead.
Yong then won a video referral to take a two point lead at 16-14. Sen controlled the proceeding thereafter to claw back at 17-17.
However, Yong grabbed two game points when a return of serve from Sen went wide and sealed it comfortably.
Yong carried the momentum in the second game, opening up a 4-1 advantage. Sen did well to erase the deficit but Young ensured he had his nose ahead at the break.
Resuming at 9-11, Sen continued his pursuit to turn things around. He drew parity at 13-13 and crafted his way to a 19-16 lead with a powerful drive away from the forehand of his opponent. A net error from Yong gave Sen four game points and he sealed it when Yong again erred at the net.
In the decider, Sen made a confident start, leading 4-1 and then reached 9-5 with another cross court jump smash. He played another precision shot at the baseline and with Yong going wide, Sen entered the interval with a massive six-point advantage.
Sen went on a smash hitting spree thereafter to quickly jump to a 18-12 lead. He grabbed eight match points with a drop and sealed it without much ado after his opponent went to net again.
Sindhu, who had beaten Katethong at the Indonesia Masters last year, however, couldn’t summon her best against an opponent ranked 33rd in the world.
She had no answers to her opponent’s compact game as the opening game slipped through her fingers in a jiffy.
A rattled Sindhu dished out some aggressive returns after the change of sides to lead 4-2 and then managed a slender 11-10 lead at the break.
She looked in control thereafter and soon grabbed eight game points. She squandered the first chance before roaring back into contest when Katethong erred.
The decider started as a close affair but Katethong soon eked out a slender 9-7 lead before entering the interval at 11-7.
Katethong was precise with her return and water-tight in her defence, attributes which helped her to move to 16-9 lead, before grabbing massive eight match points and sealed it when Sindhu went long again.
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