Birmingham : World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen beat defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 21-13,, 12-21 21-19 in a match that lasted for one hour and sixteen minutes to advance to the men's singles final of the All England Badminton Championships 2022 here at Utilita Arena Birmingham.
The 20-year-old Indian started the match brilliantly taking an early lead of 10-6 in the opening game against the Malaysian shuttler. Lee Zii Jia clawed his way back by reducing the deficit to make it 12-13. But Lakshya then raced his level and won six points on the trot to make it 19-12 and finally went on to win the opening game 21-13.
The Malaysian, who defeated World No.2 and two-time World Champion Kento Momota of Japan in the quarter-final, made a roaring comeback in the next game by taking an early lead of 9-2 winning six consecutive points.
Lakshya Sen who was trailing at 5-16 tried to make a comeback of sorts winning five points on the trot to make it 10-16 but it was too little too late as the Malaysian went on to win the game 21-12 as the match went to the decider.
In the third and final game, Lakshya made a decent start taking a 2-0 lead but his slender lead could not last long as Lee Zii Jia took the lead and went into the break with an 11-9 lead. After the break, the Malaysian won three points on the trot to take a 14-10 lead but the World Championships bronze medallist fought back to level scores at 18-18. From there on the Indian won two consecutive points to make it 20-18 and finally won the deciding game 21-19.
The last time an Indian reached the final of All England was Saina Nehwal in 2015 where she ended up as runners-up and the last time an Indian who won All England Badminton Championships 2022 was Pullela Gopichand in 2001. Only two Indians have won this tournament before Prakash Padukone in 1980 and Pullela Gopichand in 2001. Lakshya Sen is just one win away from being the third Indian. Lakshya also becomes the fifth Indian to enter the All England final.
The Almora lad is enjoying a decent run of form as he bagged a bronze medal in World Championship, secured his maiden Super 500 title at India Open in January and then claimed a runners-up finish at the German Open.