Calgary: Indian badminton sensation Lakshya Sen emerged victorious at the Canada Open 2023 as he clinched the men’s singles title after a thrilling battle against China’s Li Shi Feng on Sunday. Ranked 19th in the world, Sen defeated the reigning All England champion with a scoreline of 21-18, 22-20, securing his first title of the year. This remarkable achievement marked Sen’s second BWF Super 500 title, following his triumph at the India Open in January last year.
Despite a recent struggle for form following nose surgery late last year, the 21-year-old Lakshya Sen showcased his exceptional skills and determination throughout the tournament. Previously crowned Commonwealth Games champion in August 2022, Sen had slipped to world No. 25 in the rankings in March from a career-best No. 6 in December. However, his resounding victory in Calgary signifies a strong comeback and a resurgence in his performance.
The match against Li Shi Feng, who is currently ranked 10th in the world, proved to be a thrilling encounter for Indian badminton fans. Sen’s appearance in the BWF World Tour final marked a significant moment for him since the All England Championships last year, where he lost to Victor Axelsen. Throughout the 2023 badminton season, Sen has participated in 12 BWF tournaments, aiming to make his mark on the international stage.
Playing on the courts of the Markin MacPhail Centre, Lakshya Sen started the match with great intensity. His precise cross-court smashes, coupled with excellent net play, helped him surge to a 6-2 lead in the first game. Although Li Shi Feng caught up at 15-15, Sen responded with a series of powerful smashes, securing three consecutive points and ultimately clinching the game.
The second game saw both players engage in long rallies, with Li Shi Feng displaying clinical play at the net and taking a 10-6 lead at one stage. As the match approached a potential decider, Li Shi Feng maintained a four-point advantage at 20-16. However, Sen unleashed a series of powerful smashes, saving four game points and rallying with six consecutive points to claim victory in the 50-minute encounter. This win marked Sen’s fifth triumph over Li Shi Feng in seven meetings.