World championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen advanced to the men’s singles semifinals at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open badminton on Friday.
Sen rallied his way to a hard-fought 14-21 21-9 21-14 victory over HS Prannoy in another all-Indian quarterfinals and the third seed will square off against either Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong or Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen in the semifinals.
Sen rallied from a game down to beat Prannoy 14-21, 21-9, 21-14 in exactly an hour in the men’s singles quarter-final. In the two other all-Indian clashes of the day, Sindhu defeated Chaliha 21-7, 21-18 while Aakarshi Kashyap overcame the challenge of Malvika Bansod 21-12, 21-15 in the women’s singles category.
Sen versus Prannoy was definitely the marquee clash of the day and the two players did not disappoint 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.
If Sen was feeling any pressure at this stage, he did not show that in his approach at the start of the second game and opened up a 3-0 lead. Prannoy was guilty of making 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.
Speaking about the match, Sen said, “(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.”