Badminton, All England Open: Lakshya Sen advances to quarters; PV Sindhu, Ashwini-Tanisha bow out


Indian men’s singles shuttler Lakshya Sen, on Thursday, advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2024 All England Open Super 1000 in Birmingham.

Up against world No 3 Anders Antonsen of Demark, the Indian triumphed 24-22, 11-21, 21-14 in contest which lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

Sen, ranked 18th in the world, did not have it easy against the higher-ranked opponent. He trailed 2-8 in the decider and 6-11 at the change of ends before turning his fortunes around in a spirited fightback.

Earlier, Sen had started well in the match as he opened up an 11-9 lead at the first mid-game interval. The Indian extended the lead to four points at 15-11 post the break with some exquisite net play, but the Danish shuttler kept the pressure on.

Even as Sen opened up two game points, Antonsen equalised. It took the 22-year-old from Almora three more game points to convert the a hard-fought first game.

With the advantage of playing from the better end of the court in the second game, Antonsen bounced back. The fourth seed led 7-11 at the mid-game break and tightened the screws even further as Sen conceded the second game rather tamely at 11-21.

The complete loss in momentum continued into the decider for Sen as he trailed 2-8 and later 6-11 before the change of sides.

The encouraging words from coach Vimal Kumar seemed to have worked wonders for Sen as he returned a different man post the interval. He played three inch perfect winners straight away to reduce the deficit before Antonsen erred at the net.

Sen kept mounting the pressure and equalised with a down the line smash at 13-13. The Indian took the lead for the first time in the decider moments later at 15-14.

There was no looking back from there for the Indian as he won the next six points to close off a memorable win.

But it was not without any drama as the chair umpire called two fouls at the net on Antonsen, much to the dismay of the Dane.

Sen will now face off against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia in the quarter-finals on Friday.

PV Sindhu, Ashwini-Tanisha bow out

Meanwhile, PV Sindhu bowed out of the competition following a 19-21, 11-21 loss to world No 1 An Se Young in the women’s singles event earlier in the day.

Sindhu, who returned to the World Tour only last week after a long injury layoff, stayed within the touching distance of the South Korean throughout in the opening game.

Even as An opened up a sizeable lead in the first game, the double Olympic medallist kept fighting back employing an array of deceptive reverse slices, drop shots and her trademark smashes.

The South Korean, however, held her own with the defensive prowess she possessed to force errors from Sindhu as she pocketed the first game 21-19.

The former world champion fizzled out completely in the second game as An walked away with her seventh win against Sindhu in just 42 minutes.

Later in the day, the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto went down 11-21, 21-11, 11-21 in 55 minutes to China’s world No 6 Zhang Shu Xian-Zheng Yu to exit from the tournament.

The world No 1 men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, on the other hand, will go up against Muhammad Fikri-Bagas Maulana late on Thursday.

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