United States: Lakshya Sen, the reigning Commonwealth Games 2022 champion, bid farewell to the US Open 2023 after a valiant effort in the men’s singles semi-finals on Saturday. Currently ranked 12th in the BWF badminton rankings, Sen faced a tough challenge against Li Shi Feng of the People’s Republic of China, eventually losing 21-17, 22-24, and 21-17 in a thrilling encounter.
Competing on the badminton courts of the Mid-America Centre, Sen found himself on the back foot early on as Li Shi Feng, the reigning All England champion and world No. 7, raced to a 15-9 lead. Despite his best efforts to stage a comeback, the Indian shuttler couldn’t halt Feng’s dominance, resulting in a first-game loss.
The second game witnessed a closely-fought battle, with both Sen and Feng exchanging powerful shots. With the scores tied at 11-all, the Indian unleashed a series of smashes in a bid to seize control of the match. However, Feng showcased his defensive skills, thwarting Sen’s attempts to take the lead. In the final nerve-wracking moments, Sen elevated his game, forcing the match into a deciding third game.
Unfortunately, Sen couldn’t maintain his momentum in the third game, trailing Feng by a 14-8 margin. Although the Indian badminton player made a valiant effort to reduce the gap to 17-15, Feng proved too strong and emerged victorious after a gruelling 76-minute battle.
Despite the loss, Sen holds a 5-4 head-to-head record against Li Shi Feng, having defeated him in the final of the Canada Open just last week. Sen’s impressive performances in recent tournaments have showcased his potential and established him as a formidable competitor in the badminton world.
With Sen’s exit, the Indian challenge at the BWF Super 300 tournament has come to an end. Earlier, PV Sindhu, India’s ace shuttler, also faced defeat in the quarterfinals of the women’s singles category. However, the Indian contingent will have another opportunity to showcase their skills at the upcoming Korea Open, scheduled from July 18 to 23.