Young Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen grabbed his fourth title in three months after cruising past his Brazilian opponent 18-21, 21-18, 21-19 to win the Scottish International Challenge in Glasglow on Sunday. The 18-year-old survived a nail-biting clash as Brazil's Ygor Coelho turned a 12-14 deficit to win the first set. It was sheer dominance by the Indian in the second set that pushed the match into a decider, helping Lakshya channel his aggressive gameplay into playing a brilliant flat game to trap Coelho.
Trailing 12-15 in the second set, Coelho hit back to take four straight points to equalise at 17-17, but Sen soon went into the break with a slender 20-17 lead. It remained in an even state in the third set till Sen, ranked 41, won four straight points from 4-4 to take a 20-19 lead.
What worked for Sen was how he was not giving away any easy angles to his Brazilian counterpart to work with and kept his flat strokes extremely tight. He had won three titles previously out of the four tournaments he played since September, namely SaarLorLux Open, Dutch Open, and Belgian International.
Sen is the first Indian to win the Scottish Open title since 2012 when Anand Pawar bagged the gold medal after defeating Kazumasa Sakai in the finals in a complete three-game thriller. With this victory, Sen has entered the top 40 in the world rankings and reached a career-high ranking, besides inching closer to a direct qualification in the top grade 2 events.
Earlier yesterday, Lakshya displayed nerves of steel as he defeated Christo Popov in a nail-biting three-game semi-final thriller 9-21, 21-8, 22-20. Having received the top seeding at the International Challenge tournament, Lakshya Sen started off his campaign against Austria’s World No. 98 Luka Wraber. Sen then scored a brilliant win over his compatriot Kiran George 21-17, 21-19 to reach the quarterfinals. In the last 8, he cinched another comprehensive victory over the 6th seed Brian Yang 21-12, 21-15 before getting the better of Christo Popov in the semifinals.