Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen reached the semi-final of the Japan Open Super 750 event in Tokyo on Friday, beating world No 33 Koki Watanabe in straight-games, 21-15, 21-19.
Meanwhile, world No 2 doubles team Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost a close match 15-21, 25-23, 16-21 to reigning Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei.
In the opening game of Sen’s match, both players remained close on the score in the opening exchanges. However, at 6-6, Sen won three points in a row to take a lead that he would hold onto comfortably to win the first game.
In the second, Watanabe had raced to a 14-6 lead, but the Indian steadily clawed his way back into the game. Trailing 14-17, Sen won seven of the next nine points to win the match.
This is his third consecutive appearance in the semi-final of a BWF World Tour event. He had won the Canada Open Super 500, followed by a semi-final finish at the US Open Super 300 earlier this month.
Rankireddy and Shetty had saved three match points in the second game of their match against Lee and Wang before winning it by a close 25-23 scoreline and taking the match into the deciding game.
In the third game however, the Chinese Taipei team led from the start. They took a sizeable 19-12 lead and eventually close out the deciding game 21-16.
The Indians had a chance of becoming world No 1 should they have gone on to win the tournament.
Later in the day, HS Prannoy lost 21-19, 18-21, 8-21 to world No 1 Viktor Axelsen. This leaves Sen as the only Indian left in the draw.