All England Open Championships: Lakshya Sen enters quarters with win over Antonsen; Sindhu, Saina bow out

World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen advanced to the quarterfinals of men’s singles with win over Anders Antonsen while Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships after suffering second round losses in the women’s singles events, here on Thursday.

Sen, who reached the finals of German Open last week, defeated world No 3 Antonsen 21-16, 21-18 in his second-round match.

The Indian shuttler kept his nose ahead from the start and won the first game. Lakshya, ranked world No 11, was equally matched by his Danish opponent in the second game but the Indian amped up his pace in time to move into the quarterfinals.

The 20-year old Sen will now face China’s Lu Guang Zu in the quarterfinal.

“There was a bit of drift, so keeping that in mind, I had two game plans in mind. In the first game I was just trying to keep the shuttle back and I could get a good length. In the second game from the faster side, I took my chances and going for my smashes really helped,” said Sen.

“I’m in really good form and the tournaments I played last year gave me a lot of confidence. The India Open win was a big boost. As a kid you always want to win at the All England as this event has a rich history, so it’s an important tournament for me and I look forward to doing well,” he added.

Meanwhile, PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, suffered an upset 19-21, 21-16, 17-21 loss to world No 13 Sayaka Takahashi of Japan.

Sayaka Takahashi went toe-to-toe with world No 7 Sindhu in the first game and broke away right at the end to take a surprise 1-0 lead. In the second game, the Indian ace produced an improved performance and brought the contest back on level terms. However, it wasn’t Sindhu’s day as Sayaka Takahashi took the third game to shock the former world champion.

On the other hand, Saina Nehwal went down fighting against the reigning world champion and world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi 14-21, 21-17, 17-21 in 50 minutes.

Akane Yamaguchi was on course for a victory in straight games but Saina Nehwal, a former world No 1, clawed her way back into the match late in the second game and took the match to a decider. Trailing 11-3 at the break in the third game, Saina almost pulled off a brilliant comeback but Akane Yamaguchi’s early lead proved to be crucial.

Later in the day, Kidambi Srikanth, ranked world No 12, will be seen in action while men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and women’s doubles Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand will also play their second-round matches.

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