World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen confirmed nerves of metal as he surprised defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia to e book a maiden ultimate berth within the All England Badminton Championships right here on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Sen grew to become solely the fourth males’s singles participant after Prakash Nath, Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand to succeed in the ultimate after outwitting Lee 21-13 12-21 21-19 in a gruelling semifinal match that lasted one hour and 16 minutes.
Whereas Padukone (1980) and Gopichand (2001) are the one two Indians to have received the distinguished occasion, Nath (1947) and ladies’s singles participant Saina Nehwal (2015) had misplaced within the ultimate.
Sen has been in sensational type within the final six months. He secured his maiden world championships bronze in December, earlier than successful his first Tremendous 500 title at India Open in January and ending runner-up on the German Open final week.
Sen, who had defeated Lee the final time they confronted in a world match six years in the past on the India Worldwide Sequence, confirmed nice tactical acumen, athleticism and psychological fortitude as he recovered from a mid-game droop to script historical past on the prestigious match.
Each the gamers knew one another’s recreation effectively as that they had sparring periods as a part of an trade programme involving Prakash Padukone Academy in Bengaluru in 2016.
Within the opening recreation, Sen confirmed nice defensive expertise and moved effectively within the courtroom to eke out a 11-7 benefit on the interval.
Lee managed to unleash a few his trademark smashes to slim it all the way down to 10-12. Sen stayed within the lengthy rallies and waited for his opponent to wilt, main 13-11.
Sen stayed composed and his tactical play earned dividends as Lee fall right into a heap of unforced errors to permit the Indian lead 17-12.
A internet error from Lee was adopted by a determined return which went vast. Sen gathered two extra factors earlier than grabbing seven recreation factors when Lee erred once more and the Indian sealed it within the first likelihood to take a 1-0 lead within the match.
After the change of sides, Lee stepped up his tempo and rapidly took a 9-2 lead. He combined his photographs effectively, various the tempo and likewise confirmed nice reflex to outshine a preventing Sen.
The Indian smashed one out to permit Lee seize an enormous 11-3 benefit on the break. The Malaysian was on hearth after the breather as he unleashed a sequence of winners to zoom to 16-5.
Sen clawed his manner again to 10-16 with 5 straight factors earlier than Lee prevailed in a protracted rally after which despatched one throughout the forehand of the Indian. A smash earned Lee 9 recreation factors and closed it after one other thrilling rally to roar again into the competition.
The duo continued to play at a frantic tempo within the decider with Sen managing a 3-1 lead early on however Lee rapidly unleashed a backhand cross courtroom return to stage the rating.
Lee appeared a step forward in his tempo and received a 67-shot rally subsequent with Sen struggling in the back of his courtroom.
A 372 km/per hour backhand smash gave one other level to the Malaysian, who led 7-5 at one stage.
A peaceful Sen drew parity at 8-8 with Lee going lengthy. A physique return gave the Indian one other level however Lee managed to seize a two-point lead on the interval.
Enjoying with the drift now, Sen marginally erred in his lifts which went lengthy and Lee was fast to maneuver to 14-10.
A preventing Sen managed to slim it all the way down to 16-17 after which got here up with a cross-court smash to quickly seize two match factors. Lee saved one earlier than the Indian sealed it.
Indian girls’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will tackle Chinese language pair of Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu within the semifinals later within the day.
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