Treesa-Gayatri’s dream run ends: India’s Lakshya Sen to play finals today at All England Open – UKMALAYALEE

Treesa-Gayatri’s dream run ends: India’s Lakshya Sen to play finals today at All England Open

Sunday 20 March 2022 8:55 AM UTC

BIRMINGHAM March 20: World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen showed nerves of steel as he stunned defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia to book a maiden final berth in the All England Open Badminton Championships on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Sen became only the fourth Indian men’s singles player after Prakash Nath, Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand to reach the final after outwitting Lee 21-13, 12-21, 21-19 in a gruelling semifinal match that lasted one hour and 16 minutes. While Padukone (1980) and Gopichand (2001) are the only two Indians to have won the prestigious event, Nath (1947) and women’s singles player Saina Nehwal (2015) had lost in the final.

Lakshya Sen had stunned world no 3 and two-time medallist at World Championships Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-16 21-18 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals.

The Men’s singles final between Lakshya and Viktor Axelsen is scheduled to take place today (March 20) and will start tentatively at 2.00pm (7.30pm Indian time). Fans in India can live stream the event using VOOT Select.

Meanwhile, the Indian women’s doubles pair of P Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly crashed out of All England Open after losing to China’s Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu 17-21, 16-21 in the semifinals on Saturday at Utilita Arena, Birmingham.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand’s splendid run at the All England Championship ended with a straight game defeat against Shu Xian Zhang and Yu Zheng in the women’s doubles event at Utilita Arena, Birmingham.

Speaking after the match, Sen said: “I was definitely nervous but I was just trying to play one point at a time and not the occasion,” said Sen.

“Towards the end, I was just trying to not think about the things that was going around, it was an All England semifinal and the thoughts were coming in but I was trying to keep myself focussed.

“I am happy that I won the match and I get to play tomorrow. I will take this time to recover and go all out tomorrow.”

Sen has been in sensational form in the last six months. He secured his maiden world championships bronze in December, before winning his first Super 500 title at India Open in January and finishing runner-up at the German Open last week.

Sen, who had defeated Lee the last time they faced in an international tournament six years ago at the India International Series, showed great tactical acumen, athleticism and mental fortitude as he recovered from a mid-game slump to script history at the prestigious tournament.

“I think in the first game, I got a good length. I was playing well at the nets and lifts were going really good but I made a lot many errors in the second game and he got a lead in the beginning and it was hard to recover from there,” said the world no 11.

“Going in the third game, I tried to play safe at the net rather than going too close and at the same time getting a good length.

“In the final few points, strategy was completely different because he is one of the best attacking player in the world and when there is lot of pressure you have to go all out and keep the attack. I knew in my head I can’t play lose.”

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