Asia Junior C’ship: Lakshya stuns Li Shifeng

The Indian ousts the second seed 21-14, 21-12 to enter the men’s singles semifinals.

File Photo: Lakshya Sen locks horns with fourth seed Ikhsan Leonardo in the semifinals.   -  K. Murali Kumar

India’s Lakshya Sen caused a major upset on the third day of the individual events at the Asia Junior Championship in Jakarta, defeating second seed Li Shifeng 21-14, 21-12 to enter the men’s singles semifinals. Having ensured himself of at least a bronze medal, Lakshya, the sixth seed, will take on fourth seed Ikhsan Leonardo in the semifinals on Saturday.

The scales were tilted heavily in favour of Li, but Lakshya sprung an early surprise in their contest. Lakshya thumped Li so heavily early that Li seemed unable to recover from the shock. Employing his net-play to good effect and using half-court smashes assiduously, Lakshya put his opponent under lot of pressure. So much so that in a hurry to garner points, Li was prone to committing mistakes. Cashing in on them perfectly, the Indian established a good lead to clinch the first game.

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The second was an easier affair for Lakshya. He not only surged ahead with a sizeable lead but also saw the Chinese wilting under pressure quickly. In the end, Lakshya was regularly smashing winners.

The semifinal showdown with Indonesia’s Leonardo may not be an easy prospect, but the way Lakshya displayed his prowess against Li, his capability cannot be doubted.

Manjit, Dingko bow out

Earlier, Lakshya had defeated Thai’s Saran Jamsiri 21-15 21-16 to enter the quarterfinals even as Kiran George lost to Indonesian Alberto Alvin Yulianto. The seventh seed local lad won 21-19, 21-19 in a battle that lasted 46 minutes and saw a few good rallies. Priyanshu Rajawat also went down to Malaysian Tze Yong NG, the 15th seed, 21-15, 21-14.

In men’s doubles, India’s pair of Manjit Singh and Dingko Singh bowed out in the pre-quarterfinals, going down 21-7, 21-15 to top-seeded Chinese pair of Di Zijian and Wang Chang. Manjit and Dingko, who had excelled thus far in the tourney, found the going really tough against the top-seeded Chinese pair. After a one-sided first game, the Indians showed character to fight it out in the second and stretched their rivals, much to their surprise.

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