India Open 2023: Indian challenge ends with Lakshya, Saina’s loss in second round (Ld)

The Indian challenge at the India Open 2023 came to an end on Thursday after defending champion Lakshya Sen and former champion Saina Nehwal suffered contrasting defeats in their respective second round matches at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, here.

Sen won the opening game of the men’s singles contest but Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke fought back by engaging the Indian in long rallies to win 21-16-,15-21-,18-21 in the BWF World Tour Super 750 event, organised by the Badminton Association of India.

Later, Saina lost to Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China 9-21-, 12-21 in the women’s singles second round clash.

In the quarter-finals, Gemke will now face top seed and compatriot Viktor Axelsen, who got the better of China’s Shi Yu Qi 21-16, 16-21, 21-9 earlier in the day.

Also advancing to the next round were fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, third seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore and fifth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in men’s singles and top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, Spaniard Carolina Marin and He Bingjiao of China in women’s singles.

The second round clash between Sen and Gemke kept the spectators glued to their seats in the decider as Sen fought back from 8-14 deficit to make it 13-14. The two players then engaged in energy sapping rallies, one even extending to 69 shots.

It, however, ended in a heart break for the Indian as he hit a net tap long to hand victory to Gemke after an hour and 21 minutes battle.

In the women’s singles match, Saina was no match for the Chinese third seed, who will now face Thailand’s Supanida Katethong.

Meanwhile, Indian challenge in doubles events came to an end with defending champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty giving a walkover in their second round match due to an injury to the former. Other Indian men’s doubles combination of Vishnuvardhan Goud and Krishna Prasad and women’s doubles pairing of Tressa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand going down against their higher ranked opponents.

Treesa and Gayatri saved four match points but could not avoid a 21-9, 21-16 loss against sixth seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu of China while Krishna and Vishuvardhan lost to China’s Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang 14-21, 10-21.

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