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Badminton

Japan Open: Lakshya Sen moves to semis, Prannoy, Satwik-Chirag go down fighting

Lakshya Sen moved to the semi-finals of the Japan Open while HS Prannoy lost to World Champion Viktor Axelsen.

Japan Open: Lakshya Sen moves to semis, Prannoy, Satwik-Chirag go down fighting
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Lakshya Sen

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 28 July 2023 12:56 PM GMT

The 12-match unbeaten run of World no. 2 men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty came to an end on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Japan Open Super 750.

Lakshya Sen, however, has had an easy outing against Koki Watanabe of Japan as he won his quarterfinal match in straight games (21-15, 21-19).

While Lakshya won easily, World number 10 HS Prannoy went down fighting against World number 1 Viktor Axelsen.

In a match that lasted for 76 minutes, both shuttlers produced some mind-boggling rallies and enthralled the crowd with fascinating badminton.

Prannoy, who had beaten the Dane twice in the last three meetings, slowly fought his way back to clinch the opener and also conjured up hopes of an upset as he raced to an overwhelming 7-1 lead, only to run out of steam in the end.

The Indian shuttler made a superb comeback in the first game from 12-17 down to win it 21-19. In the second game, he had a lead of 7-1 before the Dane started a comeback and won the second game 21-18.

Prannoy looked to have run out of gas in the final game and Viktor won it 21-18. This was the first time since March 2023 that the World Champion lost a game on the BWF World Tour.

In the men's doubles, up against Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chin-Lin of Chinese Taipei, Satwik-Chirag lost a grueling three-setter in 69 minutes. The final result was 21-15, 23-25, 21-16 in Lee and Wang's favour.

In a match where, Satwik and Chirag found themselves on the wrong end of Court 1 at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo, where the shuttle drift was slow, Lee and Wang punished them with a speed game from a favourable side in both the first and third game.

While Wang weakened the Indians' defence with his mighty deep smashes, Lee was terrific at the net, not letting the Indians take control for a major part of the match.

While they won the first game easily, as the Indians never looked convincing, the second game saw Satwik and Chirag save three match points to draw the parity 25-23.

As they changed the end for the decider, Lee and Wang marched on to a 5-1 lead and extended it to an 11-7 lead at the third-game interval. After the break, the Chinese Taipei pair broke away to a six-point lead. Satwik and Chirag won three quick points, too, to reduce the gap to 16-19. But Wang's outstanding smashes were unreturnable for the Indians.

There was a nervous moment for Lee as he landed poorly on his right shoulder while attempting a return to Chirag's toss. However, he stood firm and won the match with a deep smash.

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