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Malaysia IS: Lakshya Sen made to work hard for a second round berth

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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620   //    12 Jul 2017, 23:26 IST
Lakshya is next up against Malaysian qualifier Jhotiswaran Karupathevan

Former junior World No. 1 Lakshya Sen gave a display of his resilience as he made a winning start at the $8,000 Celcom Axiata Malaysia International Series 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. The 15th seeded Sen dropped the middle game but held his nerves in the decider for a close 21-17, 17-21, 21-18 win over Thailand’s Kittipong Imnark.

Lakshya is next up against Malaysian qualifier Jhotiswaran Karupathevan.

Rapid strides for Sen

Sen, all of 15, has been touted as one of the emerging stars to watch out for quite some time. After finishing as the runner-up at the Dutch Junior Open and the German Junior Open in March, he has turned his focus on the International-level events.

The transition has been seamless and Sen has already given an exhibition of his potential. In May, he upset the ninth seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen in three gruelling games en route to reaching the pre-quarter-finals of The Smiling Fish International Challenge. That run was followed by a quarter-final appearance at the Victor International Series where he stunned the fourth seed Vega Vio Nirwanda in the third round.

Those performances have helped the teen climb to his career-best ranking of 169th, where he is placed currently.

Apart from Lakshya, the other Indians to have made it to the second round of men’s singles are Chirag Sen, Bodhit Joshi, NVS Vijetha, Mithun Manjunath, Kiran George and Arun Kumar Ashok Kumar.

In women’s singles, 18-year-old Riya Mukherjee, currently ranked 491st, defeated a higher-ranked Nadia Fankhauser, 21-15, 21-11 to join the eighth-seeded Shreyanshi Pardeshi in the second round. The latter has got a first-round bye.

In women’s doubles, the all-Indian pair of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant advanced to the second round with a hard-fought 17-21, 21-19, 22-20 win over Indonesian qualifier Surya Della Augustia and Rusydina Antardayu Riodingin.

In mixed doubles, the India men’s singles No. 1 Srikanth Kidambi’s elder brother, K Nandagopal and Mahima Aggarwal prevailed 21-18, 21-19 over Malaysian qualifier Muhammad Aiman ABD Malek and Nurul Farisha ABD Malek in the first round.

They are the only Indian team to reach the second round where they have a tough challenge in the form of third seeds Bimo Adi Prakoso and Yujia Jin of Singapore.

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