The Indian men's shuttler's journey at the Badminton Asia Team Championships was thwarted after the formidable Indonesian team edged past them2-3 to enter the finals. Playing at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, Philippines, India was halted from progressing any further in the biennial tournament and will have to settle for a Bronze medal finish.
The challenge of taking on two-time defending champions Indonesia was an incredibly difficult job but youngsters Lakshya Sen and Subhankar Dey made everyone sit up and take notice of their talent. Although their commendable victories went in vain, Sen and Dey were superbly impressive in their matches.
The first game of the day saw World No. 11 and Bronze medalist at the World Championships 2019, B. Sai Praneeth losing his second consecutive match at the tournament. The Indian had to retire after a miserable first game, 21-6, losing to Anthony Ginting.
Sen immediately swooped in to save some face for the Indian side and pulled off a major upset of World No. 7 player, Jonatan Christie. This was the first meeting between the 18-year-old Sen and Christie and the youngster impressed greatly as he won, 21-18, 22-20, in a matter of 45 minutes.
The doubles duo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila were outplayed by the three-time World Champion pair of Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan. It was a close fight but the World No. 2 combination of Setiawan and Ahsan had the last laugh, 10-21 21-14 21-23.
Indonesia were leading at 2-1 when Dey stepped out on the court to play against World No. 20 shuttler, Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. The winner of the 2018 SaarLorLux Open, Dey produced an unbelievable display of badminton as he won in straight games, 21-17 21-15. With that, the score was tied at 2-2.
It all depended on the doubles encounter then but the makeshift duo of Chirag Shetty and Sen could not play at par with World No. 1 doubles duo of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
The absence of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy was felt once again as Shetty-Sen could not cause any damage, losing 21-6, 21-13 to squander away the tie to Indonesia. Crashing out of the Championships, the Indian men's team will have to simply settle for a bronze medal now.