Lakshya Sen’s impressive run ends in agony in All England final | badminton news



BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) – Lakshya Sen’s dream run to the English Championships ended in a heartbreaking loss to world number one and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles final on Sunday, continuing the agonizing wait for India for 21 years for the coveted trophy.
After four days of sensational badminton, 20-year-old Sen teetered on the cusp of history by making too many mistakes to lose 10-21 15-21 to former champion Axelsen in a lopsided summit clash which lasted 53 minutes. at the Barclaycard Arena.
As it happened
“I think the strategy was there. I played him last week, but today he looked solid both in attack and in defence. He was really patient and played a really good game “Sen said after the game.
“In the opener I made a lot of mistakes which cost me the game. I was there in the second game but again he was too solid for me to put the wheel down. ”
On Saturday, Sen had become only the fifth Indian after Prakash Nath (1947), Prakash Padukone (1980, 1981), Pullela Gopichand (2001) and Saina Nehwal (2015) to reach the final of the prestigious tournament after beating the champion in title Lee Zii. Jia in a grueling semi-final.
A week ago, Sen recorded his maiden victory over former world champion Axelsen en route to his final appearance at the German Open, but he couldn’t maintain his art on Sunday as his fierce rival enjoyed returned the favor, earning his fifth win overall. against the Indian.
“There was a lot of pressure before the game, but when I was on the pitch it was just one more game for me. I played a really crucial game yesterday and that gave me confidence but gave him a perfect match.”

While 2020 winner Axelsen won the men’s singles title for the second time, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi took the women’s singles crown, beating South Korea’s An Seyoung 21-15 21-15 in the final.
Sen couldn’t mount his attack and trailed early with Axelsen galloping to a 6-0 lead with the help of a few accurate smashes down the lines.
An aggressive return of serve helped Sen break the tide of play, but he couldn’t find any openings as Axelsen pushed the Indian away from the net, keeping him at the baseline with his returns.
A long 61-shot rally ended with Axelsen punishing Sen for low lift as the Dane took a huge 11-2 lead in the half-time interval with one shot.
A few unforced errors from Axelsen gave Sen two points and the Indian unleashed a cross smash to make it 5-13, a gap that proved too big to close as the Dane held 11 scoring chances. game points with a smash.
Sen saved one before sending the next wide to give Axelsen a 1-0 lead.
After the change of sides, Sen tried to engage his rival in energy-consuming rallies, but he couldn’t find the right length and allowed the Dane to take a 4-2 lead.
Sen managed to cut it to 5-6 but Axelsen used his size and reach to produce powerful smashes to make it 8-4.
The Dane continued to put the young Indian under pressure with his angles, length and accuracy to secure a decisive 11-5 advantage at the break.
Sen couldn’t find a way to break through the defense of his fantasy rival, who looked in perfect control.
Trailing 10-17, Sen tried to engage his rival in long rallies. The Indian won a rally by 70 strokes after Axelsen made poor judgment at the start. However, it was soon eight match point chances for Axelsen, with Sen going to net.
The Indian saved three match points before sending the shuttle to the net as Axelsen celebrated.
Despite the loss, it was a creditable performance for Sen, who is still in his early days of elite level badminton.
“Since the pandemic I have played badminton very well. I have to continue to play continuously at the highest level and now I know what it is like to play in the big circuit. Every game is important and I have to be prepared and that gives me a lot of confidence,” Sen said.
A product of Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru, Sen has been in sensational form for the past six months.
He picked up his first bronze medal at the world championships last December, before winning his first Super 500 title at the Indian Open in January and finishing second at the German Open last week.
Asked about his next events, Sen said he will next play the Swiss Open and the Korea Open.


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