Lakshya Sen reached the quarterfinals on the BWF World Tour for the first time in 2023 as he defeated Ng Tze Yong in the round of 16 at the Indonesia Masters Super 500 in Jakarta on Thursday.
Later in the day, new women’s doubles pairing of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa also fought back from match points down to reach the last eight.
In a match that was reminiscent of the meeting between the two shuttlers in the Commonwealth Games 2022 men’s singles final in Birmingham last year, Sen prevailed from a game down once again. The Indian won 19-21, 21-8, 21-17 in 61 minutes.
Later on, Indian veteran Saina Nehwal went down in straight games against Chinese world No 11 Han Yue in the women’s singles round of 16.
Nehwal trailed by 1-11 at the interval in both games. She fought back well in the opener and it seemed she would try and force a decider. But it wasn’t to be as Han Yue ran away with the contest and closed out a 21-15, 21-7 victory in 29 minutes.
After having lost in the opening round against HS Prannoy at the Malaysia Open (Super 1000) and seeing his title defence end early at India Open (Super 750) at the hands of Rasmus Gemke, Sen’s start to 2023 had been less than ideal. But he backed up a solid win against world No 7 Kodai Naraoka in Jakarta in the opening round, with another solid result.
That the opening game went against Sen was also because of just a few seconds of miscontrol. From 19-16 ahead, the Indian made three unforced errors in the blink of an eye and that saw Tze Yong close out the opening game with five straight points.
But the Indian was in complete control in the second game, taking the lead early and playing from the far side that saw him dictate tempo. It was over in quick time as the Indian forced the decider.
With Anup Sridhar and DK Sen in his coaching corner, the 21-year-old just had to make sure the start to the decider wasn’t poor, as he had admitted after his defeat against Gemke. While Tze Yong was competing well again, the gap never got out of hand and in fact Lakshya took a 11-9 lead into the interval.
From the far side once again, he opened up a four-point lead. But Tze Yong fought back to make it 17-18 from 13-18 down. A fantastic rally at that point went Lakshya’s way crucially and the Indian, now world No 12, closed it out from there.
The seventh seed from India will next face local favoutite Jonatan Christie, who defeated compatriot Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 21-16, 21-15.
Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto, the pair of the veteran and youngster, took on Indonesia’s Lanny Tria Mayasari and Ribka Sugiarto. They dropped the opening game 19-21 but bounced back to force the decider 21-18, winning three straight points from 18-18. In the decider, the Indians had a 17-12 lead but that turned into two match points for the home pair. Crasto/Ponnappa converted their second match point to reach the quarterfinal.
They will take on Japan’s World No 11 pairing of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota.
The rest of the Indian contention lost in either the opening rounds or qualification stages.