Indian youngster Lakshya Sen gave it a good go against the top seed and world No 1 Kento Momota but the Japanese star upped his game at critical junctures to win the opening round match at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 event in Bali on Tuesday.
Sen held the lead at the mid-game interval in both the games 11-10, and even opened up four-point advantages (18-14 in the opening game and 14-10 in the second game). But that is when Momota found another gear to put together a run of points that helped him close out the match in straight games 23-21, 21-15 in 54 minutes.
In the opening game, Sen saved two game points from 18-20 down and had his own game point at 21-20. In the second game, it unravelled quicker for Sen as he lost 11 out of the last 12 points with Momota painting the lines. The rally to win the match was a lung-busting one though as both players were on their knees at the end. A warm embrace and a smile at the net in the end showed that Momota was given a good fight by Sen, who sits at No 19 in the world now for his career-best ranking.
Sen was facing Momota for the second time in two weeks during the ongoing Bali badminton festival. Momota, on his way to a first BWF tour title since the start of 2020, had beaten Sen 21-13, 21-19 in the second round last week at the Indonesia Masters which was a Super 750 event.
Indian shuttlers lost in all four matches they were part of on the opening day of the event. First-round action continues on Wednesday.
In another men’s singles match, Parupalli Kashyap went down 11-21 14-21 to the in-form Loh Kean Yew of Singapore to bow out of the competition. Men’s doubles pair of M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila lost 20-22 13-21 to Korea’s Choi Solgyu and Kim Wonho in the opening round. Arjun and Kapila had two game points in the opening game before the Korean pair pulled away.
Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan had a poor outing as they went down 12-21 4-21 to German pair of Jones Ralfy Jansen and Linda Efler.
The likes of Srikanth Kidambi and PV Sindhu begin their campaigns on Wednesday. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty have received a first round walkover.
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