German Open 2022: India’s Lakshya Sen will fight for his second title of the season when he takes on Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the men’s final. The 20-year-old outclassed Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen on Saturday.
German Open: India’s Lakshya Sen stuns Olympic champion Axelsen, meets Vitidsarn in final (AFP Photo)
- Lakshya Sen got his first win over Viktor Axelsen
- Sen came back from a deficit of 8:15 in the last game against Axelsen
- Sen meets Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in Sunday’s final
Lakshya Sen secured one of the biggest wins of his nascent career when he defeated world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in three matches in the men’s singles semifinals of the 2022 German Open. The 20-year-old Indian will meet fellow youngster Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the final as the Thai shuttle beat All-England champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the other semi-final of the Super 300 tournament.
Lakshya Sen has an opportunity to win his second title of the 2022 season as the World Championship bronze medalist had won his first Super 500 title at the India Open in January. Sen has a 3-3 head-to-head record against Viditsarn, with the Indian winning their last clash at last year’s Hylo Open in 3 games.
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In a semifinal that lasted more than an hour, Lakshya Sen worked hard to defeat Viktor Axelsen 21-13, 12-21, 22-20 and advance to the final.
It was a memorable performance for the Indian, world no.
Sen was up front throughout the first game, which lasted 21 minutes. He didn’t give the Dane a chance to overtake him. Axelsen struggled to keep up with Sen’s pace in the first game.
Sen opened with a 4-1 lead and then extended it to 9-4. But Axelsen reduced to 7-9 before Sen took four straight points to 13-7. Sen’s attacking play paid off as he picked up five straight points to lead 18-10 before easily winning the first game.
Axelsen made a comeback in the second game to go all out and take the match to a decision. He was down 3-8 early on but used his size and reach to take five straight points and level the score at 8-8 before rushing forward. From there, Sen lost the way and Axelsen bagged the second game without a fuss.
The two players gave their best for last as they fought tooth and nail in the dramatic decider. It turned out to be a battle of nerves as the rallies grew longer and both fought for every point. From 2:2 it was 4:4 and then 6:6 before Axelsen took the lead with 15:8.
But the young Indian fought back in remarkable fashion, cutting to 15:17 and then to 17:19. He evened the score to 19-19 and then 20-20 before sealing the match with back-to-back points. In the quarterfinals, Sen had defeated his Indian compatriot and former top 10 player HS Prannoy 21-15 21-16. (With PTI inputs)