All England badminton: Lakshya Sen in second round - Hindustan Times
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All England badminton: Lakshya Sen in second round

Mar 13, 2024 11:25 PM IST

He runs into world No.3 Anders Antonsen in the next round of the BWF Super 1000 tournament being held in Birmingham

U Vimal Kumar was animated as ever while giving tips to Lakshya Sen during mid-game intervals of both games at the All England Open badminton on Wednesday. Even though his ward was leading, the darts that were flying in from the racquet of Magnus Johannesen were enough to make the coach anxious.

India's Lakshya Sen(AFP)
India's Lakshya Sen(AFP)

Johannesen, 22, is rated highly in Europe and is considered the ‘next big thing’ in Danish men’s badminton. Being a southpaw also helps as it rattles even the best of right-handers on the tour.

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But Sen postponed the Dane’s rise by eliminating him in the first round of the $1.3 million event in Birmingham. The Commonwealth Games champion was clearly the better player at the net and was patient during longer rallies to notch a 21-14, 21-14 victory in the first meeting between the two.

Though the 22-year-old has got off to a strong start, the path ahead will only get tougher. “Yes, but tomorrow will be a real test for Lakshya,” Vimal, who was sitting in Sen’s corner alongside former All England champion Prakash Padukone, said.

Sen will take on Johannesen’s compatriot and world No.3 Anders Antonsen in the Super 1000 event on Thursday. While Sen had won the first time they met, the three-time World Championships medallist has got the better of the Indian the last three meetings with the head-to-head tilted 3-1 in the Dane’s favour.

This is the third successive year that the two will face each other at the All England Open. And for a third year on the trot the two will face in Round 2. While Sen ended Antonsen’s journey two years back on way to a sensational run to the final, it was the Dane who trumped the diminutive Indian before losing in the semi-finals to eventual winner Li Shi Feng of China.

Antonsen has been in brilliant form this year too, winning Malaysia Open – the only other Super 1000 event yet – and Indonesia Masters in January.

Priyanshu Rajawat suffered a 19-21, 21-11, 9-21 loss to Indonesian Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, his fifth successive loss in the first two rounds on the BWF World Tour.

In women’s doubles, Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa beat Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam for a second time in as many months– they beat the Hong Kong pair at the Badminton Asia Team Championships – to enter the second round. Following their 21-13, 21-18 win, they will next take on Chinese fifth seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand though lost late on Tuesday. They went down 18-21, 12-21 to Indonesia's Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti.

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