India Open: Sindhu loses, Lakshya Sen and Chirag-Satwik pair in final

New Delhi. India’s two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu suffered a semi-final loss at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open here on Saturday while World Championships bronze medalist Lakshya Sen advanced to the final of her maiden World Tour Super 500 tournament. Lakshya, a 20-year-old from Uttarakhand, made a comeback 19-21 21-16 21-12 to beat Malaysia’s Ng Tje Yong, ranked 60th in the world rankings, after falling in the last four matches of men’s singles.

Top seed and domestic strong contender Sindhu lost 14-21, 21-13, 10-21 to sixth seed Supanida Katethong of Thailand in the women’s singles semifinal. Young Akarshi Kashyap also had a golden opportunity but lost five ‘game points’ in the opening game in the second semi-final of women’s singles as Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan won 26-24 21-9.

Third seed Lakshya will take on world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in Sunday’s final, which will be similar to last year’s Dutch Open final. Loh was given a walkover as Canada’s Brian Yang pulled out of the semi-finals following a sore throat and headache. Lakshya said after the match, “It is a great feeling to play your first Super 500 final in your country. The opening game was very close, I made some mistakes which cost me. I kept my composure in the second and third games and managed to win the match.”

Lakshya has won two matches in four matches between the two players. However, fifth seed Loh had prevailed in the final of the Dutch Open last year. “We are both playing well, tomorrow (Sunday) it will be a good match and I am really looking forward to playing against him,” he said.

In men’s doubles, world No. 10 pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy defeated French pair of William Villegar and Fabian Delreau 21-10 21-18 to enter the final. Chirag and Satwik will now face the Indonesian pair of three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the final on Sunday.

In other results, Indian women’s doubles pair of Haritha Manajiyil Harinarayan and Ashna Roy went down to fourth seeded Thai pair of Benayapa Amsard and Nuntakarn Amsard 12-219-21. Lakshya made a comeback after going 2-4 in the first game of the semi-finals to take a 10-6 lead. At the break, their lead was 11-8. The Malaysian player then improved his game, making the score 14-14, then 17-17. Yong won the set 21-19.

After winning the first game, Yong got off to a good start in the second set with a 4-1 lead. Lakshya made a comeback, which put pressure on Yong. He took a lead of 19-16 after leveling the score at 13-13 and then won the game. Lakshya maintained his lead from start to finish while continuing the momentum in the deciding set. Lakshya has won two Super 100 titles which include Dutch Open and SaarLorLux Open. Last year, this young player made it to the semi-finals in Highlo. He also reached the knockout stage in the World Tour Finals before winning the bronze medal at the World Championships.

PV Sindhu had defeated Katethong at the Indonesia Masters last year, but she could not beat her world number 33 rival. He had no answer to his opponent’s impressive play, leaving the opening game out of his hands in a jiffy. Sindhu was aggressive in the second game and took a 4-2 lead. After that she managed to maintain the lead 11-10 till the break. He held on tight and soon took a lead of eight ‘game points’. And by the mistake of Katethong, winning this game reached level.

The deciding game was a close one but Katethong soon extended the 9-7 lead to 11-7 at the break. Katethong was very cautious in her return and her defense was also strong enough to lead 16-9. But due to Sindhu’s mistake, she won the match by getting eight ‘match points’.

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