All England Championship: Lakshya through to quarters but Satwik-Chirag, Sindhu go down

An error-prone PV Sindhu suffered a straight-game defeat to her nemesis An Se Young of Korea in the women’s singles second round at the All England badminton Championships on Thursday.

Published : Mar 14, 2024 17:22 IST , Birmingham - 5 MINS READ

Lakshya Sen of India in action against Anders Antonsen of Denmark.
Lakshya Sen of India in action against Anders Antonsen of Denmark. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lakshya Sen of India in action against Anders Antonsen of Denmark. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

World No. 1 Indian pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty bowed out in the men’s doubles pre-quarterfinals of the All England Badminton Championships after a straight game defeat against Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana of Indonesia here.

Satwik and Chirag on Thursday night lost 16-21, 15-21 against the Indonesians, who were champions here in 2022. The top seeded Indian shuttlers, who had won the French Open last week, could not sustain the pressure on their rivals, the third seeds, and went down in a little over an hour.

India’s Lakshya Sen recorded a stunning three-game win over world no. 3 Anders Antonsen to progress to the quarterfinals but an error-prone PV Sindhu lost in the women’s singles second round of the Championships.

The World No. 18 Sen, who had finished runner-up at the 2022 edition, fought his way back from a 2-8 deficit in the decider after losing the second game to prevail 24-22, 11-21, 21-14 over Antonsen, a three-time medallist at the World championships, in a controversial second round match.

Earlier Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, seemed to be in good touch as she fought hard against the world No. 1 An Se Young of Korea but failed to curb her mistakes to slip to a 19-21, 11-21 loss.

It was the Indian’s seventh successive loss to the indomitable An Se Young, who had become the first Korean woman singles player to win the World Championships last year.

Sen came into the match with a 1-3 record against Antonsen, who had defeated the Indian in all the last three meetings.

But the Indian produced a good show and was leading 17-15 in the first game after some close battles initially. With two winners, Antonsen made it 17-17 but Sen was the first to gain two game points with a precise backhand flick at the corner.

The Indian squandered five game points as Antonsen stayed alive.

READ | All England Championship: Lakshya, Tanisha-Ashwini progress to pre-quarterfinals

Eventually at 22-22, two power-packed smashes gave Sen his fifth game point and he sealed it this time when the Dane sprayed wide.

After the change of ends, Antonsen was on top of things, leading 11-7 at the break. The Dane kept a firm hold on the rallies as Sen committed too many errors and the second game slipped away quickly.

In the decider, Antonsen was up 2-8 before grabbing a 11-6 lead at the interval.

But soon the momentum shifted as the Indian won seven of the next nine points to draw parity at 13-13.

At 14-16, Antonsen was called for a fault for touching the net, which rattled the Dane. “Fault? Why? Touched the net? My racket or body?”, an animated Antonsen could be heard saying to the chair umpire.

Sen soon unleashed a forehand winner to move to 16-14, which he swelled to 18-14 when a defensive shot went wide from Antonsen.

Another long rally ended up long as Lakshya stood two points away from a win. A smash gave him six match points and he converted when the Dane went wide.

Sindhu vs An Se Young

 India’s PV Sindhu in action.
India’s PV Sindhu in action. | Photo Credit: PTI

India’s PV Sindhu in action. | Photo Credit: PTI

Sindhu, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from a left knee injury, tried to attack but her 22-year-old opponent looked in a different league as she varied the pace of the rallies and used her repertoire of strokes well to come up trumps.

For Sindhu, things went downhill after the break in the second game as errors kept piling up.

Sindhu was up 4-1 but An Se Young started reading the game better and slowed down the rallies. She kept sending the tosses and clears, waiting for errors from Sindhu, who invariably sent the shuttle wide and long.

Soon the Korean led 11-8. Sindhu kept the attack, producing a backhand push and a cross smash. The Korean, however, stayed solid in her defence to move to 13-10 and then 15-11 with another precise smash.

Sindhu tried to charge to the net and target her rival’s body but Young’s instinct helped her survive twice as she sent the shuttle away.

From 13-17, Sindhu fought back to 16-17. But Young again pulled away with two points before grabbing four game points with a forehand drop.

Sindhu pounced one at net and then produced a tight smash on her rival’s forehand to stay alive. The Korean then slipped during a rally as Sindhu made it 19-20.

However, just in time, An Se Young sent a backhand sailing over Sindhu’s head to the backline to seal the opening game.

The second game started on a tight note before An Se Young grabbed a five-point lead at the interval. Thereafter, it all went downhill for Sindhu.

“She is, of course, the top player now. But I should have been much more patient, I made unforced errors. There were easy mistakes,” Sindhu said.

“In the first game it was fine but then I was coming closer and then giving away those two-three points. But I think in the second set I gave her a huge lead, and then I was making receiving mistakes.

“It’s important to keep up with her for that we need to work hard and be patient, work hard on our skill and technique.”

On the other hand, Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa lost to the Chinese pair of Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu 21-11, 11-21, 11-21 in the second round.

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