Lakshya Sen, Sindhu in Semis, keep Indian challenge alive at Yonex-Sunrise India Open

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi, 14 January: World Championship bronze medalist  young Lakshya Sen staged a superb comeback  to oust experienced HS Prannoy while top seed PV Sindhu overpowered promising  Ashmita Chaliha to move into the semi finals in their respective categories of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Badminton here on Friday.


In the men’s section  quarter finals , Lakshya lost the first game but rallied from behind to beat Prannoy 14-21, 21-9, 21-14 in 60 minutes. The Indian will will now face NG Tze Yong of Malaysia tomorrow.

Meanwhile, world champion Loh Kean Yew defeated Russia’s Sergey Sirant 21-16, 21-13.

In the two other all-Indian clashes in Women section, Sindhu  accounted for Chaliha 21-7, 21-18 while Aakarshi Kashyap ousted Malvika Bansod 21-12, 21-15.

Sen versus Prannoy turned out to be a thrilling affair and the two players gave every thing in terms of effort and aggression. The youngster started with his trademark attacking instinct and took an early lead.

But Prannoy then began to step on the gas and his down the line smashes did hurt Sen’s game plan and the third seed began to make mistakes. But there was not much to differentiate between the two till 13-13 before the former eight of the next nine points to pocket the game.

However Sen held his nerves at the start of the second game and opened up a 3-0 lead. Prannoy made too many errors while trying to force the pace and never recovered after he conceded a 4-12 lead.

It was Prannoy who started the decider better racing to a 6-1 lead. It was the next point that probably changed the direction of the match. Sen defended a flurry of smashes from his opponent and scored the point with a cross court drive.

Sen won 9 of the next 11 points by keeping the shuttle slightly away from the net on dribbles and attacking Prannoy’s body a lot more. Prannoy did manage to level the score at 12-12 but could not maintain the tempo as Sen showed more patience during the rallies and his younger opponent made the most of that.

“(In the) first game both of us were playing really fast and the aggression was also there. After the second game we started to rally more and I was a lot more comfortable.” Sen said after the match

Former champion Sindhu started aggressively against Chaliha and wrapped up the opening game 21-7. But Chaliha refused to give up without a fight.

In the second game, the 22-year-old from Assam showcased some of her attacking skills to put her much illustrious compatriot under pressure.

However, the experience of Sindhu made the difference when  the score tied at 15-15. The top seed started moving her opponent a lot more and though Chaliha jumped and dived to keep the shuttle in play, it wasn’t enough to force a decider.

Sindhu will now face Thailand’s Supanida Katethong, who received a walkover in the quarterfinals after Singapore’s Jia Min Yeo conceded the match due to high fever.

Earlier, Kashyap ended Bansod’s run in the tournament. Bansod, who had upset Saina Nehwal in the earlier round, looked nervous from the start and her opponent ensured that she could never settle down.

Kashyap mixed things up by being more aggressive than usual and forced Bansod into committing a lot of unforced errors. It was only at the end of the second game that Bansod looked like playing her game of engaging the opponent in long rallies. But by then she was 10-18 down and it was too little too late.

Kashyap will now face second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan, who thrashed USA’s Lauren Lam 21-12, 21-8 in the other quarter-final.

In men’s doubles, top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan booked their semi-final berth with a 21-12, 21-14 over Norway’s Torjus Flaaten and Vegard Rikheim.

Second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Sen also reached the last four stage after defeating Singapore’s Hee Yong Kai Terry and Loh Kean Hean 21-18, 21-18.

The Indian pair  will face eighth seeded French combination of Fabien Delrue and William Villeger, who got the better of Ireland’s Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds 21-9, 23-21 in the other quarter-finals.

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