Lakshya Sen settles for silver as Viktor Axelsen regains All England Open title

Top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark beat unseeded Lakshya Sen of India 21-10, 21-15 in the men's singles final on Sunday. (Pic credit: BAI)
Top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark beat unseeded Lakshya Sen of India 21-10, 21-15 in the men's singles final on Sunday. (Pic credit: BAI)

Lakshya Sen's spectacular run was finally halted at the All England Open Badminton Championship in Birmingham on Sunday.

Viktor Axelsen produced a scintillating performance against Sen to clinch the men’s singles title without dropping a game throughout the BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament.

World No.1 Axelsen downed Sen 21-10, 21-15 in a well-contested men’s singles final that lasted 53 minutes to claim his second All England crown.

Although the scores suggested a one-sided encounter, the match was far from it. The unseeded Sen fought hard throughout the summit clash but could not convert his efforts into points.

With the defeat, Sen missed the chance to become the third Indian after Prakash Padukone (1980) and Pullela Gopichand (2001) to win the All England title.

It was Axelsen’s fourth All England final in a row, while Lakshya was playing his maiden final of the world’s oldest tournament.

After winning his first All England title in 2020, Axelsen had to be satisfied with a runner-up spot last year as he was beaten by Malaysian Lee Zii Jia.

Scrappy start for Lakshya Sen against Viktor Axelsen

In the first game, top seed Viktor Axelsen won the first six points before Lakshya Sen tried to close the gap. However, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist was too precise with his shot-selection as he took the first game of 21-10 with ease.

In the second game, world No. 11 Sen looked slightly better, but Axelsen showed great composure to win.

The 6-foot 4-inch tall Dane used the advantage of his height to defend well. Sen tried his best but was simply unable to pierce Axelsen’s strong defense.

The 28-year-old Axelsen took an 8-5 lead in the second game after being leveled at 4-4. Despite Sen’s best efforts, Axelsen looked in complete control.

Lakshya Sen tried to engage his opponent in long rallies. One of the rallies lasted a whopping 70 shots, which completely drained both players.

Axelsen continued to exert full pressure on Sen as he jumped to a 17-10 lead.

In a last-ditch effort, Sen produced some brilliant displays to reduce the margin. However, Axelsen had the last laugh as he grabbed the second game 21-15.

Viktor Axelsen avenges last week’s German Open defeat

Lakshya Sen stunned Viktor Axelsen in three hard-fought games at last week’s German Open. It was his first win over his senior rival after four defeats.

However, in a short span of a few days, Axelsen avenged his defeat with a straight-game win over Sen.

Sen trained with Axelsen for a couple of weeks in Dubai late last year after the Tokyo Olympics.

Axelsen was fast, focused, and determined on Sunday. At the moment, he is a class above Sen.

With this triumph, Axelsen joined an elite list of Danish shuttles to have won the title more than once.

It was not Sen’s day in Birmingham. However, he can be proud of what he has achieved so far in the world’s oldest tournament. A win over defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the semis on Saturday was a splendid result.

The 20-year-old Almora youngster also knocked out third seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark earlier in the week.

Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi wins women’s singles crown

Second seed Akane Yamaguchi won the women’s title with a convincing win over An Seyoung of Korea in their summit clash.

Yamaguchi, from Japan, trounced the fourth-seeded An 21-15, 21-15, in a 44-minute battle.

Results (Finals)

Men’s singles

1- Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) bt Lakshya Sen (India) 21-10, 21-15 (53 minutes)

Women’s singles

2- Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) bt 4-An Seyoung (Korea) 21-15, 21-15 (44 minutes)

Men’s doubles

Muhammad Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana (Indonesia) bt 2-Mohammad Ahasn-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 21-19, 21-13 (37 minutes)

Women’s doubles

7- Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Japan) bt Zhang Shu Xian-Zheng Yu (China) 21-13, 21-9 (41 minutes)

Mixed doubles

4- Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Japan) bt 3-Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping (China) 21-19, 21-19 (58 minutes)

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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