Lakshya Sen reached his first semi-final of 2023 after making it to the last-four of the Thailand Open Super 500 in Bangkok on Friday.
Up against Malaysia’s Leong Jun Hao, a former World Junior Championships silver medallist, Sen notched a 21-19, 21-11 win in the quarterfinals.
In a testy first game, Leong took a 11-10 and then a 16-10 lead. However, Sen fought back superbly and won six points on the trot to go up 17-16. The Indian did not let the lead slip and took the first game 21-19.
Sen carried that momentum into the second game taking an 11-8 lead as Leong suffered an injury. The Malaysian required some treatment at the mid-game interval and was not at his best after the match resumed. Sen dropped only three more points to comfortably secure his place in the semi-final.
Sen awaits the winner of the match between China’s fifth seed Guang Zu Lu and second-seed home favourite Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
He’s now the only Indian left in the competition.
Earlier on Friday, compatriot Kiran George’s brilliant run at Bangkok ended at the quarterfinal stage as the Indian lost to France’s Toma Junior Popov. As he had done before in the tournament, George trailed early on before taking the lead at the mid-game interval. However, Popov switched gears and took the first game 21-16.
In a keenly-fought second game, George led 11-8 and 13-9 but was unable to put the game to bed as Popov fought back to complete a 21-16, 21-17 win.
To get to the quarterfinal, George had beaten third seed Shi Yu Qi and last week’s Malaysia Masters finalist Weng Hong Yang.