All England Open 2024: Lakshya Sen produces inspirational fightback to storm into quarters

India's Lakshya Sen delivered an inspirational and remarkable performance to overcome the current World No. 3 Anders Antonsen.

Lakshya Sen; Credit: Twitter/@Media_SAI
By Soumya | Mar 15, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

India’s Lakshya Sen delivered an inspirational and remarkable performance to overcome the current World No. 3 Anders Antonsen. Lakshya overcame the fourth seed from Denmark 24-22, 11-21, 21-14 in an 80-minute thriller to reach the quarterfinals at the prestigious Super 1000 tournament.

Sen, currently placed in the 18th rank in the BWF World Rank fought back from a 2-8 deficit in the last game. Earlier, he had dropped the second game in a miserable way. “It was a question of cutting down on the errors,” coach Vimal told The Indian Express about Lakshya’s turnaround.

“When up 8-2 in the decider, Anders made a few casual mistakes and that was costly for him. At 11-6 change over in the third, Lakshya completely shut down on the error front and that was a huge plus.”

Read more: B. Sai Praneeth retires from the badminton circuit

Sen’s fightback against Antonsen

Lakshya Sen, who hadn’t had the best start to the year, has changed gears and has been in unbelievable form. The 22-year-old Indian reached the semifinals of the French Open last week, and with a sensational victory over fourth seed Anders Antonsen in the pre-quarterfinals, he looks to continue his run at the All England Open.

In the match against Antonsen, Sen narrowly won the first set 24-22 before going down 11-21 in the second. The third and final set saw the Indian shuttler make a comeback from 13-10 down to level terms and then, from 14-14, take seven consecutive points to seal the match. Lakshya Sen won the thrilling three-set battle with a scoreline of 24-22, 11-21, 21-14. He will now take on Malaysia’s Lee Zi Jia in the quarterfinals.

Right out of the blocks, Lakshya started taking control from the side where he struggled in the second game. 6-12 quickly became 9-12 as Lakshya hit three clean winners. A rare error in the end-game by Lakshya made it 13-14. And that would be the last point Antonsen won.

Drama followed as twice Antonsen was faulted for infractions at the net and on both occasions, he was incensed with the chair umpire (but replays suggested there was good reason for the calls.) It derailed Antonsen completely as Lakshya cantered to a win.

As good as the late fightback was, the opening game that Lakshya took 24-22 after some excellent net-play was crucial as well, as he set up a quarterfinal against Malaysian maverick Lee Zii Jia.

Read more: All England Open Badminton 2024: Day 1 Report

Sen’s leap of faith

It wasn’t long back that things looked bleak for Lakshya, in terms of results as well as qualifying for Paris. But his team remained confident of a turnaround, insisting that physically he has been posting great numbers in training and looked in good shape. Vimal had said in Delhi that one of the things he was going to focus was on mental conditioning. Not just the random conversation here or there after training, but dedicated sessions. “It has to be more regular. When he comes back from Indonesia, I am only looking at that. Because he has to find the confidence back, the inner stability,” Vimal had said.

And a fitter, sharper Lakshya has turned his form around in the nick of time. The game is clicking for the most part, but the belief and drive are back. First, with three come-from-behind wins in Paris, and now with a fabulous fightback in Birmingham. Now, Paris is not just a distant dream but a highly probable reality.

Read more: All England Open Badminton 2024: Report Day 2

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