Indian women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand scripted a stunning win to progress to the quarterfinals but Lakshya Sen bowed out in the men’s singles competition of the All England Championships in Birmingham on Thursday (March 16). Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Treesa and Gayatri continued their rise as they shocked former world No. 1 pair of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota 21-14, 24-22 in a pulsating contest.
The world No. 17 Indian pair, which had reached the semifinals of the last edition, will next face Chinese combination of Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan. Last year’s finalist Sen, however, couldn’t find his touch against Anders Antonsen, going down 13-21, 15-21 in 52 minutes. It was a sweet revenge from the Danish, who had gone down in straight games to the Indian in 2022.
Returning from an injury, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy paired up with his partner Chirag Shetty but their gallant fight ended with a 21-10, 17-21, 19-21 loss to China’s world No. 10 Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang. Treesa and Gayatri have been in good form, having claimed a win over world No. 7 Tan Pearly and Thinnah Muralitharan at the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship in February. In their opening round here, the Indian duo upset seventh seeds Jongkolphan Kitiiharakul and Rawinda Prajongai of Thailand.
In the men’s singles match, Sen and Antonsen engaged in some high-quality rallies with the latter jumping to a 8-4 lead initially and then grabbing a three-point cushion at the break. But Sen soon started moving well and levelled at 11-11 after winning a 52-shot rally but the Indian couldn’t continue the momentum as Antonsen pulled away to 19-13 after unleashing a winner on his opponent’s forehand to win another exciting rally.
Women on a mission went past WR-9 pair in style __
_: @badmintonphoto #AllEngland2023#IndiaontheRise#Badminton pic.twitter.com/ce4NANZnWN
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) March 16, 2023
A couple of errors from Sen and Antonsen held the bragging right in the battle between the two former top-10 players. After the change of sides, Sen stepped up his game and worked his way to a 9-4 and then 11-5 advantage at the mid-game interval. Antonsen then scripted a fightback to move within one point of the Indian at 10-11.
Sen lost his way after that as Antonsen started dictating the terms to turn the tables at 14-13 as the Indian pushed one to the net. Sen missed a few shots as the Dane grabbed five match points and sealed it on first chance.
The second-round exit means Sen will lose a lot of his ranking points and slip further in the BWF chart. The former world No. 6 had lost in the first round at German Open to slip to the 19th rank last Tuesday.