Japan Open 2023: Lakshya Sen's valiant fight goes in vain in semis, Jonatan Christie wins three-setter
Lakshya - the Canada Open champion - lost the semifinal 12-21, 21-13, 16-21 in a gruelling battle that lasted for 68 minutes.
Lakshya Sen went down fighting to world no. 9 Jonatan Christie in his men's singles semifinal match of the Japan Open Super 750 at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo, on Saturday.
Lakshya - the Canada Open champion - lost the match 12-21, 21-13, 16-21 in a grueling battle that lasted for 68 minutes.
In the opening game, the world no. 13 Indian shuttler started on a positive note, taking an 11-9 lead at the interval for winning points from Christie's mistakes.
However, after the interval, Christie emerged as a different player, controlling the game with brilliant net play and smashes. The Indonesian shuttler also brought Lakshya to the edge of the court to get the Indian's strikes wide.
Christie - the winner of the Indonesia Masters - let Lakshya take only one point out of the last 13 points post-interval to win the lead in the match.
In the second game, Lakshya, however, came on top of Christie with a solid defence - on several occasions. The Indian won points from his defensive blocks, sending crosses with simple flicks.
Lakshya was also terrific with flat spinning smashes, landing just before Christie, as he cruised to a 9-4 lead and extended it to 11-4 at the interval. With a better defence, intent to control the net, and booming smashes, Lakshya forced the decider, taking the second game 21-13.
Going into the decider, he maintained the tempo to take a 2-1 lead. Christie, however, has not taken much time to stage a comeback; he would soon break away for an 11-7 lead at the interval. After the interval, too, Christie kept troubling Lakshya with his supreme control at the net and wise placements of the shuttle. Add to this, his willingness to bring Lakshya closer to the edge of the court which fetched him crucial points.
Christie eventually triumphed 21-16 to register his second straight win over Lakshya. In the Indonesia Masters quarterfinals, Christie defeated Lakshya in straight games.
Christie will play the winner of the second semifinal between Viktor Axelsen and Kodai Naraoka in the final on Sunday.
Meanwhile, with Lakshya's departure, India's campaign at the Japan Open 2023 ended. HS Prannoy in men's singles and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty in doubles lost their respective quarterfinal matches on Friday.