Lakshya Sen’s run at the All England Open Championships came to an end on Friday in the men’s singles quarter-finals while women’s doubles pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also bowed out of the event in Birmingham.
Later in the day, PV Sindhu — the sole remaining Indian at the event — will take on former world No 1 Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles quarterfinal.
It was a case of double Dutch delight as both the Indian defeats came against shuttlers from the Netherlands.
For Sen, it was a disappointing result against world No 36 Mark Caljouw. The 26-year-old defeated the Indian in a scrappy match that was littered with errors by both players. Given they were both at this stage arguably because of the luck of the draw, the nervousness was evident. The Indian lost 17-21, 21-16, 21-17 in 55 minutes.
Caljouw claimed the first game 21-17 in 17 minutes. The 19-year-old Indian bounced back in the second game, opening up a lead of 11-6 and later sealing it 21-16 to stay alive in the contest. However, he was never in the running in the decider, paying the price for unforced errors at critical moments. He did show the grit to fight back from 11-16 down to 16-16 but Caljouw won five out of the last six points to clinch it 21-17 and enter the semifinal.
While Anthony Ginting was the favourite in this quarter of the draw, he had to withdraw along with the rest of the Indonesian contingent. And then Srikanth Kidambi lost in the opening round as well while Sen himself had accounted for world No 18 Kantaphon Wangchaoren in the first round.
Sen’s result is even more disappointing from India’s perspective with the draw opening up even further on Friday.
Top seed and world No 1 Kento Momota was stunned by world No 10 Lee Zii Jia from Malaysia. Lee had never taken a game from Momota in their previous meetings but won in straight games 21-16, 21-19 to let out a massive roar of celebration.
Momota’s return to the tour from a lengthy layoff (he was injured in a car accident in January 2020) came to an end with a surprise defeat but he was understandably rusty.
In women’s doubles, world No 30 Ponnappa and Reddy could not consolidate their win against sixth seeds Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva on Thursday.
They went down 24-21, 21-12 in 39 minutes against world No 24 Cheryl Seinen and Selena Piek. The Indians trailed 6-11, then 12-15 in the opener but fought back to have five game points but could not convert any of those while the Dutch pair needed just one.
It was tough to recover from there. The second game was a more routine affair for Seinen and Piek.
On Thursday, world No 10 men’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, seeded sixth, had crashed out of the event after losing 16-21 21-11 17-21 to Denmark’s Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the second round. It was their second consecutive defeat against the world number 13 combine, having lost to them at Swiss Open earlier this month.
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