Sen sails into final, Sindhu suffers semifinal loss to Yamaguchi in Canada Open

Calgary, Jul 9 (PTI) Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen stormed into the final of the Canada Open Super 500 badminton tournament with a straight-game win over Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto here.

Sen, who has slipped to world number 19 after struggling to find his form early in the season, saw off the world number 11 Japanese 21-17 21-14 to enter his second Super 500 final and first BWF summit clash in over a year.

The 21-year-old Indian, who claimed a bronze at the 2021 World Championships, will face China’s Li Shi Feng in the final on Sunday.

“It was a pretty bad start, I couldn’t control the shuttle well. The moment I got the rhythm at the net (it got better). Near-perfect netplay was the key and we were both trying to do that,” Sen said.

“Eventually I took control at the net, the smashes were also working. Overall, good tactical game I played and I’m happy with my performance.” Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, however, couldn’t produce her best and went down 14-21 15-21 to world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in her women’s singles semifinal.

A former world number 6, Sen had undergone a nose surgery for a deviated septum after the World Championships last August and took a lot of time to recover post treatment.

Sen last played a final at the Commonwealth Games in August last year. After a series of early exits from tournaments, he showed signs of recovery when he reached the semifinals of the Thailand Open.

Sen has a 4-2 head-to-head record against his Li Shi Feng, the reigning All-England champion. Sen had defeated him recently at the Thailand Open.

Sen struggled to find his length early on and sprayed the shuttle long and at the net to find himself 0-4 down but he slowly engaged his rival in rallies by taking charge of the net to catch up at 8-8.

Nishimoto managed to hold a slender 11-10 lead at the interval after Sen sprayed one at the net but the Indian turned the tables soon after resumption and kept moving ahead.

His trademark smashes, net play and precision in returns helped him to stay a step ahead, as he wrapped up the game when his opponent hit long.

The second game started on an even note as the duo fought tooth and nail initially but, once again, Sen found his way as he was more alert. He kept a grip on the fast rallies.

From 2-2, the duo moved to 9-9 before Sen managed a two-point cushion at the break after Nishimoto hit long.

The Japanese sent the shuttle long even as Sen pounced on anything weak and produced some exquisite smashes to move to 19-11.

A body return earned Sen seven match points and he sealed it on the second attempt when Nishimoto found the net again.

“Plenty of Indian supporters in the stadium, they’ve been there from the first day so it’s really good to play in here,” Sen signed off.

The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.

One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.

Source: PTI News


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