World Championships bronze medalist Lakshya Sen upset world number 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in back-to-back matches to advance to the men’s singles quarter-finals, but it was the curtain for Olympic medalists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal at the All England Championships here on Thursday.
Sen, the 20-year-old from Almora, who won his first Super 500 title at the Indian Open in January and then reached the German Open final last week, picked up an upset victory 21-16 21-18 over third seed Antonsen. .
Antonsen is a two-time World Championship medalist in 2019 in Basel and 2021 in Huelva respectively. It was their first meeting on the international scene.
Sen will face China’s Lu Guang Zu in the quarter-finals.
World number 7 Sindhu, however, made an early exit after losing 19-21 21-16 17-21 to 13th-seeded southpaw Takahashi in an hour and six-minute second-round match.
Saina Nehwal also bowed out after her valiant fight ended in defeat to second seeded Japan Akane Yamaguchi in a thrilling three-game second round match.
Former world number 1 Saina, a bronze medalist at the London Olympics, lost 14-21 21-17 17-21 to world number 2 Yamaguchi in a 50-minute women’s singles clash.
It was a much better performance from the Indian, who lost in consecutive matches to Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon at the German Open last week.
India’s fifth seed Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also entered the last eight after making short work of Germany’s Mark Lamfuss and Marvin Seidel 21-7 21-7.
Sen amply demonstrated his tactical acumen by distributing defensive play and keeping Antonsen away from the net to lead 11-9 at the first break. He kept things under control after the break to take a 13-9 lead and held on to the lead to bag the opener.
Sen kept his clears close to the baseline and tried to use his spikes wisely to take an early 9-5 lead before taking a four-point lead at the break.
Antonsen battled back to 14-14, riding a six-point trot. The pair went from 14-14 to 16-16 before Sen managed to take a two-point lead at 18-16.
He kept his nerves and unleashed a cross smash to catch three match points. Antonsen saved one after a thrilling exchange but the Indian closed the next door to advance to the last 8.
Going into the match with an equal 4-4 head-to-head record, Sindhu had to do the catch-up work as Takahashi led the opener for the most part, although the Indian wouldn’t stop. to click on his heels and had leveled the scores at 11-1 and 15-15 before going 19-20 at one point.
Stung by the knockdown, Sindhu fired all cylinders blazing, galloping to a huge 14-4 lead, a gap the Japanese couldn’t close as the Indian bounced back.
In the deciding game, Sindhu managed to open a slim 8-6 lead but Takahashi quickly turned it around and then picked up five straight points to make it 15-10.
Sindhu tried to erase the deficit and made it 17-18 before the Japanese comfortably sealed the issue.
Sindhu had also made a second-round exit at the German Open.