Birmingham: World Championships bronze medalist Lakshya Sen and the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand scripted history after reaching the semi-finals at the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships in their respective categories, here on Friday.
Sen, ranked world No. 11, was pitted against world No 27 Lu Guang Zu of China in the quarter-finals. However, he received a walkover after his opponent pulled out at the last minute.
With this, Lakshya became only the third Indian men’s player to enter the semi-finals of the All England Open Badminton Championships. Prakash Padukone in 1980, 1981 and Pullela Gopichand in 2001 were the only Indian men’s singles players to have made the All England Open semi-finals in the open era previously.
While Padukone finished as runners-up in 1981, the Indians went on to win the title on the other two occasions. Gopichand won the title in 2001.
The 20-year-old from Almora, who had a great start to 2022 by winning the India Open and reached the final of the German Open last week, will now face the winner of the match between world No 7 Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia and world No 2 Japan’s Kento Momota in the last four round.
He earlier defeated world No 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-16, 21-18 in his second-round match on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals. The young Indian shuttler is in great form, having beaten world champion Loh Kean Yew and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, the Indian women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand, ranked world No. 46, moved into the semi-finals after scoring an upset win against the world No 2 South Korean duo of Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan 14-21, 22-20, 21-15.
With their sensational win, Treesa-Gayatri became the first Indian women’s pair to make the semi-final of the All England Open.
Both teams began the match strongly and were tied at 13-all in the first game. The South Korean duo, however, upped the ante and pocketed the first game with a comfortable margin. The second game saw the Indian teenagers save two match points and take the game into the decider.
After the third game was tied eight-all, Treesa and Gayatri took five straight points and won the match in 67 minutes.
However, the fifth-seeded Indian pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost 22-24, 17-21 to world No 1 Indonesian pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the quarter-final, which lasted for 47 minutes.
Dubbed as ‘Minions’, the Indonesian pair trailed the Indians 15-20 but saved five-game points to claw back and win the first game. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty played catch-up for the most of the second game and eventually lost out on a place in the semi-finals.
Earlier, P.V Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, suffered an upset loss to world No. 13 Sayaka Takahashi of Japan while Saina Nehwal went down fighting against the reigning world champion Akane Yamaguchi in three games. Kidambi Srikanth also crashed out a’ter losing to Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in a close match.