New Delhi: World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen’s superb run in the All England Open Championships ended with a 10-21, 15-21 loss to reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles final in Birmingham on Sunday. Axelsen, today, brought his A-game to win his second title as he outclassed Sen in a hard-fought battle.
Sen started the final on the backfoot as Axelsen was in top gear right from the start of the match. It seemed that Sen was running out of ideas against World No. 1. The Danish star dominated the India shuttler to win the first game 21-10 in 22 minutes and then crushed his opponent 21-15 in the 2nd set to seal an easy win.
The 20-year-old Almora Lad could have become the third Indian shuttler to win the prestigious final of the world’s oldest badminton tournament — the All England Open.
Proud of you @lakshya_sen! You’ve shown remarkable grit and tenacity. You put up a spirited fight. Best wishes for your future endeavours. I am confident you will keep scaling new heights of success.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 20, 2022
So far, only two Indian shuttlers have won the All England final — Prakash Padukone in 1980 and Pullela Gopichand in 2001.
Ends up Runner Up. One of the best sign is your constantly making the semis. Gladiator @lakshya_sen . Congratulations @ViktorAxelsen for winning. @BAI_Media #BadmintonOnVoot Good Coverage. pic.twitter.com/FaA56Fd7v2
— Raj Kothari (@RajKotharii) March 20, 2022
A superb run of form had helped Lakshay secure a bronze medal in World Championships, win his maiden Super 500 title at India Open in January, and then end up as runners-up at the German Open.
Earlier on Saturday, the World Championship bronze medalist had stormed into the final of the prestigious All England Championships after outwitting Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 21-13, 12-21, 21-19 in a thrilling semi-final clash. This was Lakshya’s second consecutive win against Lee Zii Jia. He also defeated the star Malaysian shuttler in the 2016 India International Series.
The match lasted for one hour and 16 minutes. With this win, Lakshya became the first Indian male player to reach the All England final in 21 years. Last time an Indian made it to the All England final was in 2015 when Saina Nehwal had ended up as runners-up.
Lakshya’s win over Lee Zii Jia made him the fifth Indian overall to ever qualify for the All England final. He joined Prakash Nath (1947), Prakash Padukone (1980 and 1981), Pullela Gopichand (2001), and Saina Nehwal (2015) in the elite list.