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Sen shines in England

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Birmingham, March 17

Lakshya Sen stunned world No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in straight games to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals of the All England Championships, but PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth went down fighting here today.

PV Sindhu lost to Sakaya Takahashi for the third time in a row. file

The 20-year-old Sen, a World Championships bronze medallist, beat Antonsen 21-16 21-18 to score yet another upset after he beat world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen at the German Open last week.

Sen will next face China’s Lu Guang Zu, who beat eighth seed Ng Ka Long Angus 21-10 21-11.

Fifth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered the men’s doubles quarterfinals after making short work of Mark Lamfuss and Marvin Seidel of Germany, winning 21-7 21-7.

However, in the women’s singles, Japan’s Sakaya Takahashi scored her third consecutive win over two-time Olympics medallist Sindhu, beating the Indian star 21-19 16-21 21-17 in the pre-quarterfinals.

Earlier, another Japanese player, Akane Yamaguchi, the world No. 2, beat Nehwal 21-14 17-21 21-17. It was a much improved performance from the Indian, who had lost in straight games to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon at the German Open last week.

Sensational

For Sen, it was an exciting performance against the higher-ranked Antonsen, a two-time medallist at the World Championships.

It was their first meeting at the international stage.

Sen provided a glimpse of his tactical acumen as he dished out a defensive game, keeping Antonsen away from the net. He kept the game in control to move to 13-9 and maintained the lead to pocket the opening game.

In the second game, Sen made his opponent go back to the baseline and tried to use his smashes judiciously to jump to a four-point advantage at the breather. Antonsen fought his way back to 14-14, winning six points on the trot. Sen eked out a two-point lead at 18-16. The Indian unleashed a crosscourt smash to grab three match points. Antonsen saved one after an exciting rally but the Indian then shut the door.

Sindhu’s loss

Coming into the match with a 4-4 head-to-head record against Takahashi, Sindhu had to do a catch-up job through the opening game. Sindhu kept snapping at Takahashi’s heels and even levelled the scores at 11-11 and 15-15 before moving to 19-20 at one stage. However, Takahashi pocketed the game with two straight points. Sindhu came out all cylinders blazing, galloping to a huge 14-4 lead in the second, a gap which the Japanese player couldn’t bridge.

In the decider, Sindhu managed to open up a slender 8-6 lead but Takahashi soon turned the tables and then reeled off five straight points to jump to 15-10. Sindhu fought hard to erase the deficit and made it 17-18, but she also made errors and Takahashi sealed the game and match comfortably.

World Championships silver medallist Srikanth lost 21-9 18-21 19-21 to Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting. — Agencies

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