All England Open 2022: Lakshya Sen becomes the first Indian to reach the men's singles final in 21 years
Lakshya Sen becomes the first Indian man after Pullela Gopichand in 2001 to reach the final of All England Badminton Open.
Lakshya Sen, earlier today, became the first Indian man to reach the All England Badminton Open final for the first time in 21 years. The 20-year-old forced his way into the final of the prestigious BWF 1000 tournament with a hard fought 21-13, 12-21, 21-19 win over defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia.
Sen started off well in the semifinal against the Malaysian taking an early lead in the first game. The youngster maintained the early lead to pocket the first game 21-13 after a battle which lasted 21 minutes.
Lee Zii Jia, however, hit back in a stunning fashion in the second game. The Malaysian left no room for error and Lakshya Sen crumbled under the relentless pressure to surrender the second game 12-21 and take the match into a decider.
Sen and Lee matched each other shot for shot in the decider. The latter even led 11-9 at the change of sides, but the Indian kept his head down and kept fighting. Coached by the first-ever Indian to win the All England Open in 1980 - Prakash Padukone, Lakshya displayed that he has come of age to close of the match by taking the final game 21-19.
With this win, Lakshya Sen has become only the first Indian man to reach the final of All England Open 2021 in 21 years. The last Indian man in a men's singles final at the All England was the former Indian chief coach Pullela Gopichand.
Interestingly, Gopichand's daughter - Gayatri Gopichand will also be seen fighting it out to reach the All England Open 2022 Final in the women's doubles section alongside Treesa Jolly later today.
Lakshya has also become the first Indian to qualify for the All England Open Final after 7 years. The last Indian shuttler at the All England final was Saina Nehwal in women's singles back in 2015.