India Open: Lakshya reaches final, Sindhu loses, Satwik-Chirag face top seed
Third seeded Lakshya Sen came back from a game down to beat Malaysia's NG Tze Yong 19-21, 21-16, 21-12 in one hour seven minutes in the men's singles semifinal. In the women's semifinals, PV Sindhu lost to Thailand's Supanida Katethong 14-21, 21-13, 10-21.
FILE PHOTO: Lakshya Sen.
Supanida Katethong is a little-known Thai girl looking to make a mark in badminton. Coming from a nation that has seven players ranked in the world’s top-50 in women’s badminton - India has just two.
Left-handed Supanida chose the semifinal stage of the $400,000 India Open here on Saturday to showcase her prowess by knocking out P. V. Sindhu.
With a stunning display of temperament in the deciding game, Supanida signed off for a 21-14-13-21, 21-10 victory in 59 minutes to set up an all-Thailand final with Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
The second seed Busanan saved five-game points in the opening game against India No. 3 Aakarshi Kashyap before posting a 26-24, 21-9 victory.
For the home fans, the exit of Sindhu took away much joy from the expected semi-final victories of men’s third seed Lakshya Sen and men’s doubles second seed Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.
For Lakshya, it will be his maiden final of the India Open, a BWF World Tour event. Unlike in the past matches, Sindhu dropped a game before getting her act right in the second game. In the decider, Sindhu was expected to carry on with the momentum gained from the second game but it was not to be. Down 4-5, Supanida won three straight points and never trailed again.
In fact, at the mid-game interval, the 24-year-old Supanida led 11-7. The much-expected fightback from the 2019 World champion never came.
All credit to World No. 33 for keeping Sindhu guessing and forcing her into repeated errors. As a result, Supanida won eight of the last nine points to race away with the decider.
Earlier, Lakshya battled hard to beat back the challenge of a far lower-ranked Ng Tze Yong. The Malaysian ranked 60 as compared to Lakshya’s 17, took the first game off Lakshya and led 11-9 at the mid-game interval of the second game. But thereafter, Lakshya found his game and went on to post a 19-21, 21-16, 21-12 victory in 67 minutes.
For the title, Lakshya plays World champion and fifth-seeded Singaporean Loh Kean Yew who received a walkover from an unwell Brian Yang of Canada. Interestingly, Lakshya and Yew are locked 2-2 in head-to-head clashes.
In men’s doubles, second seed Satwiksairaj and Chirag set up the clash with former World champion and top seed Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. The Indian duo galloped past eighth-seeded Frenchmen Fabien Delrue and William Villeger in 37 minutes - seven more than what Ahsan and Setiawan needed to dismiss Malaysians Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
Semifinals (Indians unless stated):
Men: Loh Kean Yew (Sgp) received a walkover from Brian Yang (Can); Lakshya Sen bt Ng Tze Yong (Mas) 19-21, 21-16, 21-12; (Doubles): Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Ong Yew Sin & Teo Ee Yi (Mas) 21-15, 21-18; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty bt Fabien Delrue & William Villeger (Fra) 21-10, 21-18.
Women: Supanda Katethong (Tha) bt P. V. Sindhu 21-14, 13-21, 21-10; Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha) bt Aakarshi Kashyap 26-24, 21-9; (Doubles): Benyapa Aimsaard & Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Tha) bt Haritha Harinarayanan & Ashna Roy 21-12, 21-9; Anastasiia Akchurina & Olga Morozova (Rus) received a walkover from Ekaterina Malkova & Anastasiia Shapovalova (Rus).
Mixed doubles: Chen Tang Jie & Peck Yen Wei (Mas) bt Tan Kian Meng & Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-19, 21-23, 21-14; Hee Yong Kai Terry & Tan Wei Han (Sgp) received a walkover from Rodion Alimov & Alina Devletova (Rus).