The young Lakshya Sen rose to the occasion on Day 1 of the 2020 All England Open as he gave India its only win in the men's singles discipline, getting over the line against Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong. While top Indian stars like Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth fell by the wayside, the 19-year old came from behind to secure a win in just under an hour.
The win has secured him a date with the second seed from Denmark, Viktor Axelsen. The duo has never played each other on the professional tour and it is set to be an intriguing encounter.
Despite their widely mismatched experience at this level, Sen, who began playing senior tournaments just about a year ago, is very similar to his more fancied opponent.
Meanwhile, Axelsen was also a promising junior who won the World Championships at the junior level before transitioning to the senior tour. The one thing that has stayed constant for the Dane has been his commitment to an attacking game.
At 6'4", Axelsen has one of the best smashes in the game which makes him very strong from the back court. This is quite similar to the style of play that has characterised Sen so far.
Both men struggle with patience when it comes to their shots and tend to go on the occasional spiral when they're not winning off the back of their attack. It will be interesting to see both of them try and take up initiative of the match early on.
The start will be key and neither would like to go on the back foot too much. Axelsen, in particular, struggles a lot in defence and when made to retrieve or play around the net a lot. This is something that Sen will be looking to do to keep his opponent from getting into his groove.
Sen has trained at a Danish camp and the duo must be familiar with the other's game despite never having played on tour. The Indian has an edge when it comes to variety in his game, but it seems unlikely that the same will take him over the line on this occasion.
Prediction: Axelsen to win two games
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