All England 2022: Lakshya Sen stuns world No. 3 Antonsen to enter quarter-finals, Saina Nehwal goes out struggling

Lakshya Sen continues to show signs of a bright future in men’s singles badminton. On Thursday, India’s Shutter, 20, defeated world No. 3 Anders Antonsen in straight games in a show of class and composure to advance to the quarter-finals of the prestigious 2022 All England Open Championship.

Lakshya Sen defeated third-seeded Anders Antonsen 21-17, 21-18 in 55 minutes in a reciting round of 16 match in Birmingham. The Indian shuttle’s victory comes a day after in-form Antonsen defeated reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round.

Lakshya put on an impeccable defense as Antonssen’s pace didn’t bother him throughout the competition. After winning the opening game, Sen had to bandage his fingers with tape as he was bleeding. However, he remained focused on the task at hand. He led 11-7 at the break only to give Antonsen 7 straight points but the Indian closure regained their composure and didn’t let the great Dane run away with the game.

Be it net play or smashes from the back of the court, Lakshya displayed exceptional skill to finish off the two-time World Championships medalist.

Ranked 11th, the highest position for an Indian men’s singles shutter, Lakshya next meets the winner of the Round 2 match between Ng Ka Long and Lu Guang Zu.

Lakshya’s rise has been incredible in recent months as the Indian star won bronze at last year’s World Championships. He then went on to win his first Super 500 title at the India Open earlier this year before reaching the final at the German Open last week, where he defeated reigning Olympic gold medalist Viktor Axelsen.

SAINA GOES DOWN FIGHTING

Meanwhile, veteran Saina Nehwal, who has struggled to find form in the recent past, showed signs of her old self in a hard-fought second-round loss (14-21, 21-17, 17-21) to World Champion Akane Yamaguchi.

Saina, who defeated Beatriz Corrales in straight games on Wednesday, was knocked out in the opening game by 2nd seed Yamaguchi. However, the London Olympics bronze medalist fought back to force a decision.

It looked like Saina would go down cheaply in game three as the Japanese star had taken an 11-3 lead, but Saina hit back and gained 16 more points before going down 21-17.

Later on Thursday, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and men’s doubles pairing Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will battle it out for places in the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament.

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