India's star shuttler Lakshya Sen stormed into the semifinals to keep India's challenge alive in the ongoing Thailand Open 2023 as he defeated Jun Hao Leong of Malaysia 21-19, 21-11 in the quarterfinals match of men's singles event in Bangkok on Friday.
Commonwealth Games 2022 champion Lakshya has endured a tough season so far. Playing at the Indoor Stadium Huamark, Lakshya was in a spot of bother in the first game, trailing his world No. 65 opponent by six points at 10-16.
However, the Indian pulled things back aggressively and clinched the first game 21-19. With momentum in his hand, Lakshya went into the second break with a three-point lead and got the benefit of it for his second win over Jun Hao Leong at the senior level in as many matches.
In Saturday's semifinals, Lakshya will now take on the winner of the match between world No. 13 Guang Zu Lu of the Republic of China and world No. 5 Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the BWF Super 500 tournament.
Earlier in the round of 16, Lakshya defeated the fourth seed and reigning All England Open champion from China, Li Shi Feng, in straight games.
On the other hand, India's Kiran George went down to Frenchman Toma Junior Popov 16-21, 17-21 in a match that lasted for 41 minutes.
The 59th in the badminton rankings for men's singles, George could not catch up to world No. 28 Toma Junior Popov after conceding an early lead.
The young Indian shuttler went into the second game with a three-point lead. However, after the game was tied at 17-all, Toma Junior Popov upped the ante to clinch four consecutive points and progress to the semi-finals.
In the early rounds, George got the better of former All England Open champion Shi Yu Qi and an in-form Weng Hong Yang. In the women's singles event, Saina Nehwal suffered defeat and crashed out from the round of 16 while PV Sindhu suffered a first-round exit. (ANI)