Experienced campaigner Srikanth eventually prevailed over young Lakshya, with the former registering a sensational come-from-behind 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 win to reach the final.
The 20-year-old Lakshya rued the lost opportunity but remains confident of doing even better at the next World Championships and will settle for nothing less than the gold.
After his bronze-medal winning effort on debut, Lakshya returned home to Bengaluru on Tuesday afternoon along with his father, DK Sen and physio Abdul Wahid.
He was accorded a warm welcome at the Bengaluru Airport by Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy head coach Vimal Kumar, who garlanded him.
It was a good match and I should have won: Lakshya
The young badminton star spoke to Sportskeeda on his arrival. He revealed that against Srikanth, he entered the court believing he had a chance to reach the final. Lakshya's speed and attack in the initial stages of the match, in fact, had Srikanth on the ropes.
However, the older Indian had other plans and bounced back in style to shatter his young compatriot’s hopes.
“It was a good match against Srikanth," recalled Lakshya during his exclusive chat with Sportskeeda. "We both gave it our best shots. The World Championships final spot was on our minds. I got a flying start and went one-game up. Despite losing the second game, I did not lose hope and fought till the end.
"In the third and deciding game, there were several long rallies and exhausted us completely," he added. "Still we did not give up and fought hard. I failed to convert my chances. I should have won that match."
Despite being unseeded, Lakshya's semifinal run surprised everyone. Although he was disappointed not to make it to Sunday's final, he was pleased with his efforts on his World Championships debut.
“Obviously I was disappointed to lose the semis as I desperately wanted to reach the final," he said. "However, winning the bronze medal is immensely satisfying. I consider this as my career-best achievement so far. Every badminton player dreams of winning a medal at the World Championships. I am so happy to get it in my maiden appearance. Overall I am pleased with the way I performed throughout the week."
After battling hard against each other for close to 70 minutes, Lakshya and Srikanth displayed excellent sportsman spirit with a warm embrace. They even discussed their match and also talked about the final against Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.
“After the match we were absolutely normal," Lakshya recalled. "Srikanth even asked me about Loh as he was facing him for the first time in the tournament. As I played against Loh recently, Srikanth wanted to know about his strengths and weaknesses. I shared with him the inputs regarding Loh."
Thanks to Lakshya’s spectacular display, he has now jumped two places to reach his career-best world ranking of 17.
"This confidence will keep me in good stead in 2022" - Lakshya Sen
After getting his maiden medal, Lakshya wants to do better in the next World Championships.
So far, only Prakash Padukone (1983), B Sai Praneeth (2019) and Srikanth have managed to win a medal at the World Championships, other than Lakshya. Srikanth became the first Indian male shuttler to claim a silver medal.
The 20-year-old also admitted to getting a huge boost in confidence from this incredible run and wants to use it as a springboard for the upcoming season.
“I want to win another medal in the World Championships," Lakshya said. "Hopefully a gold medal will be my target. I have age on my side and I am determined to bag another medal.
"My confidence has certainly boosted with my recent performances," he added. "Reaching the World Championships semis was the ultimate moment in my career. This confidence will keep me in good stead in 2022. Doing well at the India Open in New Delhi next month will be my next target now."
Hailing from Almora, Lakshya shifted his base to Bengaluru around a decade ago. His father, DK Sen, who is also a senior SAI coach and accompanied him to the World Championships, made Bengaluru their home long ago.
Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) has had a major role in Lakshya’s phenomenal rise in his career.
Founders of PPBA, Prakash Padukone and Vimal Kumar, were thrilled and congratulated Lakshya on his bronze medal.
“Both Prakash Sir and Vimal Sir called me after the semifinal," Lakshya revealed. "Prakash Sir congratulated me and praised my efforts despite losing in the semifinal. I used to speak regularly with Vimal Sir. We used to discuss before every match and also do analysis after the game.
The entire PPBA team always encouraged me to do well," he continued. "I always get great support from them and OGQ. I am glad I lived up to their expectations."
Experts believe after his medal-winning effort at the World Championships, Lakshya will be eager to bring more laurels to the country. They are expecting an even better showing from Lakshya at the prestigious All England Championships next year.