Lakshya Sen and the men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stormed into the Yonex-Sunrise India Open finals at the KD Jadhav Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
But the penultimate day’s play turned out to be a mixed one for India as PV Sindhu and Aakarshi Kashyap went down fighting in the women’s singles semifinals.
Lakshya Sen overcame a stiff challenge from Tze Yong Ng 19-21, 21-16, 21-12 to enter the final of the tournament, which is part of the HSBC BWF World Tour Series.
World Championships bronze medalist Lakshya rallied back to oust Malayasia’s Tze Yong Ng in a pulsating semifinal that lasted an hour and seven minutes.
The hard-earned win in his debut appearance at the Indian Open also assured him his first final at the Super 500 level or above on the BWF Tour.
Lakshya will now face newly-crowned world champion Loh Kean Yew in the summit clash on Sunday.
The Singaporean received a walkover in the semi-finals after Canada’s Brian Yang opted out due to a sore throat and headache.
Third seed Sen was the overwhelming favorite against world No. 60 Ng, but if he expected an easy outing, the tall Malaysian surprised him. Both players started the match with fast -paced rallies with the lead changing hands at regular intervals.
Lakshya then opened up a 14-10 lead before a flurry of errors allowed Ng to stage a comeback. The Malaysian player won seven consecutive points to regain the lead. Even though the home favorite managed to level the scores at 17-17, the momentum was definitely with Ng.
Ng began the second game with the same tempo and opened up a 4-1 lead before Lakshya’s solid defense helped him get out of a hole with him finding a winner on the next shot. The point probably gave the Indian the required self-belief and he began to assert himself a lot more.
The 20-year-old began to mix things up, playing softer drops to open up the court for an opportunity to hit winners with his cross-court smashes. Ng did manage to keep pace with the Indians until the mid-game interval but Lakshya was in total control thereafter as he forced a decider.
Lakshya wasn’t going to let the momentum slip as he had figured out that NG wasn’t really comfortable with his toss-drop routine. The Malaysian star did try to prolong rallies and keep the shuttle in play, but it wasn’t enough as the Indian star could find a way to hit the winners.
Lakshya happy to pull out a win after losing first game
With his opponent tiring a bit, Lakshya clinched five straight points to end Ng’s resistance and reach his first Super 500 final.
“The first game was really fast and he managed to win some close points at the end to win it. I stuck to my game plan in the next two games and it worked well for me,” he said.
Speaking about the final, Lakshya said, “It’s a good feeling to play my first Super 500 final at my home. Fans are not allowed this time but there were a few people in the stadium who were supporting me and it felt good.”
Sunday’s final between Lakshya and Loh will be their fourth meeting this season, with the world champions winning two of the three earlier matches. Their overall head-to-head record stands at 2-2.
Speaking about the final against Loh, Uttarakhand youngster Sen said he was confident of a good match.
Satwik-Chirag makes light work of French opponents to reach doubles final
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty thrashed eighth seeds Fabien Delrue and William Villeger of France 21-10, 21-18 in the men’s doubles semifinals.
Second seeds Satwik and Chirag needed just 37 minutes to get the better of their French opponents.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag will lock horns with top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the final. The Indonesian pair prevailed over third seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia 21-15, 21-18 in 30 minutes.
PV Sindhu and Aakarshi Kashyap bow out in semis
Indian badminton fans were hoping for an all-India final between PV Sindhu and Aakarshi Kashyap. However, both Indian shuttlers went down fighting in their respective women’s singles opponents.
Sindhu lost to sixth seed Supanida Katethong of Thailand 14-21, 21-13, 10-21 in 59 minutes. Just a few months ago at the Indonesia Masters 2021, Sindhu had defeated Supanida Katethong 21-15, 21-19.
However, on Saturday, the Thai player avenged the defeat to book her berth in the Sunday’s final. World No. 33 Katethong will now square off against second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the all-Thailand final.
Earlier, Aakarshi Kashyap put up a brave fight but could not beat Busanan Ongbamrungphan. Aakarshi squandered five game points to lose the extended first game 24-26. She seemed to have been demoralized after losing the first game narrowly and was blown away in the second game.
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan defeated Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 21-15, 21-18 to reach the men’s doubles final.
India’s only semi-finalists in the women’s doubles category, Haritha MH and Ashna Roy, went down 21-12, 21-9 against fourth seeds Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard of Thailand.
Indian Results (Semifinals)
3-Lakshya Sen bt Ng Tze Yong (Malaysia) 19-21, 21-16, 21-12 (67 minutes)
1-PV Sindhu lost to 6-Supanida Katethong (Thailand) 14-21, 21-13, 10-21 (59 minutes)
Aakarshi Kashyap lost to 2-Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand) 24-26, 9-21 (52 minutes)
2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt 8-Fabien Delrue-William Villeger (France) 21-10, 21-18 (37 minutes)
Haritha MH-Ashna Roy lost to 4-Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Thailand) 12-21, 9-21 (24 minutes)
4-Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Thailand) vs 3-Anastasiia Akchurina-Olga Morozova (Russia)
3-Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei (Malaysia) vs Hee Yong Kai Terry-Tan Wei Han (Singapore)
6-Supanida Katethong (Thailand) vs 2-Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand)
2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs 1-Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)
3-Lakshya Sen vs 5-Loh Kean Yew (Singapore).