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Lakshya reaches England Championships semis by defeating Lee Zii Jia

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Lakshya reaches England Championships semis by defeating Lee Zii Jia
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Birmingham: Lakshya Sen of India advanced to the men's singles semifinals of the All England Championships in Birmingham after displaying incredible mental strength in his astounding victory over Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia, the former champion.

In an exciting quarterfinal that lasted 71 minutes on Friday, the 22-year-old Indian, who had finished runner-up in the 2022 edition, outlasted Lee 20-22, 21-16, and 21-19 by producing strong variations while attacking.

"It was a really good match and happy to be on winning side. It was all about keeping the nerve. I knew he has the quality to comeback and give a tough fight," Sen said.

"Even when I was 18-14 up, I knew if I play a little bit lose, he will grab the opportunity. For me, it was important to dictate the pace. In the end, it was about not giving him an open chance to hit and keep the shuttle down." World no. 18 Sen, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, will take on Indonesia's world no. 9 Jonatan Christie in the semifinals.

Sen played four three-game matches last week at the French Open before engaging in two back-to-back long matches in the past couple of days but despite that, he was able to maintain a high pace.

"It (physically) was really good. The way I played last week and now too. Now it is all about recovering as there is not much time. My support team will have to be really on their toes to get me up for next match," Sen said.

The two shuttlers played some excruciating rallies but Sen managed to grab an 8-3 lead as Lee made too many errors at the net.

Soon Sen was 12-7 up but Lee, who has defeated the Indian only once in four meetings, recovered in time to claw back at 12-12 and then 20-20 before taking the opening game.

In the second game, Sen kept himself ahead 11-9 at the mid-game interval and then upped the pace to take seven points on the trot to roar back into the contest.

In the decider, Sen kept a high pace to take 7-5 and 11-8 leads in the break. He didn't let the advantage slip despite Lee gaining four successive points from 15-19.

However, Sen got the two crucial points to register his fourth win over the Malaysian.

In the end, the Malaysian shot one long to hand the Indian the win as he fell on his back to celebrate.


With PTI inputs

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TAGS:Lakshya senAll England Championships
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