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All England Open Badminton C'ships: Lakshya Sen beats Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia in three-game thriller to book final berth


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India's Lakshya Sen produced an excellent performance to secure a final berth in the All England Open Badminton Championships on Saturday.

 

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India's Lakshya Sen competes against Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia during their men's singles semifinal match at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham, England,(AP)

 

Lakshya Sen produced a scintillating display to defeat Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia 21-13, 12-21, 21-19 in a closely-contested semi-final of the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham. The Indian shuttler produced an incredible effort in the third game despite trailing at the mid-game break to cruise to his maiden final in the tournament.

Sen will meet the winner of the match between Viktor Axelsen and Chou Tien-chen in the final of the tournament.

The 20-year-old shuttler became the first Indian to reach the men's singles final of the prestigious tournament in 21 years. Pullela Gopichand was the last Indian to reach the final round of All England in 2001.

Prakash Padukone and Gopichand are the only Indians to have won the event, while Saina Nehwal had reached the final in 2015.

It was an emphatic display from Lakshya, who came back from 10-14 down, and then 12-16 down to defeat Lee in the final game of the semi-final. 

The Indian shuttler made a bright start to the match, controlling the pace of the match with relative ease as he cruised to a 21-13 win. Lakshya also secured seven-successive points after the mid-game break, putting an end to Lee's chances for a comeback.

However, the Malaysian world no.7 saved his best for the second game, outclassing Lakshya with a series of jump smashes. In no time, Lee gained an 11-3 game at mid-game break and eventually secured a 21-12 win to level the proceedings in the semi-final.

Lee led for a major part of the deciding game; however, he turned passive as the duration of rallies continued to increase, and Lakshya eventually emerged on top after he ended Lee's resistance at 21-19.

Sen has been in sensational form in the last six months as he secured his maiden Super 500 title at India Open in January and then claimed a runner-up finish at the German Open last week.

 

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