Bulgaria IS: 16-year-old badminton star Lakshya Sen clinches second senior title
Having just turned 16 years old a day back, Indian badminton prodigy and junior world number one Lakshya Sen won the Eurasia Bulgarian Open 2017 with a fine win in the final on Thursday. The Bulgaria International Series is his second senior title in his fledgling career so far, with him having won the India International Series last year, which makes this win his first senior title on foreign soil.
It was a hard-fought final for the youngster, who is currently ranked 167 in the world and is set to receive a massive boost next week when the rankings are updated. He defeated second seeded Zvinomir Durkinjak of Croatia in the final, who is 13 years his senior and ranked 102 in the world.
The Indian came back from behind in fine style to clinch victory in the final match. He lost the first game narrowly at 18-21, but in the next, he recovered well to take it by a comfortable 21-12 margin. In the decider, he held his nerve and prevailed 21-17, thus clinching the title.
The youngster has shown great tenacity to win in Bulgaria, especially after his shock exit from the Asian Junior Championships last month, where he was one of the title favourites and exited in the Round of 16. He overcame multiple higher-ranked opponents over the course of the competition and produced some spectacular performances.
In the first round, he was drawn against the top seed Sam Parsons of England, who was dispatched in straight games in just 32 minutes. The final scoreline read 21-17 21-9. In the next round, another straight-game victory was to follow as Sen defeated compatriot Kiran George 21-12 21-10 to enter the quarters.
Next up was Poland's Michal Rogalski, who provided a stiff fight, but the Indian ultimately prevailed in three games. In the final four, Sen downed Sri Lanka's Dinuka Karunaratna 21-19 21-14 in a 35-minute encounter to enter the final.
In the women's singles final, fifth seeded Turkey's Neslihan Yigit defeated German top seed Luise Heim to clinch the title. The home pairing of Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva lifted the women's doubles crown, while in the mixed doubles, Alex Vlaar of Bulgaria and Iris Tabeling of Netherlands were the winners.