On 16th birthday, badminton prodigy Lakshya Sen enters final of Bulgaria International Series
World No. 1 junior men’s singles player Lakshya Sen made it a memorable 16th birthday by entering the final of the $8,000 Eurasia Bulgarian Open 2017 in Sofia on Wednesday. Sen comfortably beat Dinuka Karunaratna of Sri Lanka, 21-19, 21-14 in 35 minutes to secure his place in the summit showdown of this International Series tournament.
In the final to be held on Thursday, he faces the second seed Zvonimir Durkinjak of Croatia.
The World No. 167 has made up for his shocking loss in the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Junior Championships held in the end of July where he was one of the title favourites.
Sen trained under Peter Gade this month
Sen was then sent to France to train under the tutelage of the former World No. 1 Peter Gade, who is currently the head coach of France. This was arranged as a part of an exchange program between the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) and the French badminton team.
The promising shuttler was one of the four talented youngsters who made the trip with the others being Rahul Bharadwaj, Maisnam Meiraba and Kiran George. Former two-time national champion Sayali Gokhale accompanied them in this stint from August 1-10.
Lakshya and Rahul had the prized opportunity of undergoing training with the senior French team in Voiron while the others practiced with the junior team in Bordeaux, according to the Times of India.
Sen upset top seed at Bulgarian Open
The Bulgarian Open is Sen’s first tournament since that stint and his performances definitely reflect his elevated level of confidence.
Lakshya had the top seed and World No. 89 Sam Parsons of England as his first round opponent. He needed just 32 minutes to dismiss the latter in a 21-17, 21-9 win.
In the second round, Sen easily won an all-Indian battle with qualifier Kiran George, who was one of the PPBA trainees sent to France. It was only in the quarter-finals where he faced some stiff resistance from Poland’s Michal Rogalski, whom he eventually beat 20-22, 21-18, 21-15.
Vaishnavi Reddy’s brave run ends
Meanwhile, India’s 15-year-old rising women’s singles star Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka’s valiant run came to an end in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. Jakka had stunned the second seed Mariya Mitsova of Bulgaria, 21-12, 25-23 and also prevailed over German qualifier Stine Susan Kuspert, 21-12, 21-10.
It was the local qualifier Maria Delcheva, who sent the Indian packing with a comeback 16-21, 21-17, 21-17 victory.