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German Open 2022 badminton: India’s Lakshya Sen falls short in final

Lakshya Sen lost to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-18, 21-15 in the title decider.

Indian badminton player Lakshya Sen lost to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the German Open 2022 men’s singles final at Mulheim on Sunday.

Lakshya Sen, who bagged a bronze at the world championships late last year, was chasing his second BWF title of the year, having won the India Open Super 500 title back in January, beating reigning world champion Kean Yew Loh. The 20-year-old, however, came up short in Germany, losing to fellow youngster Vitidsarn 21-18, 21-15.

Both Lakshya Sen, the world No. 12 in the latest badminton rankings, and Vitidsarn, ranked 20th came into the match full of confidence on the back of spectacular victories in the semi-final stage.

While Sen scripted an unlikely comeback to oust Tokyo Olympics gold medallist and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, Vitidsarn had accounted for the world No. 7 and reigning All England champion Lee Zii Jia in straight games in his top four clash.

In terms of past head-to-heads, too, there was nothing to separate the two promising youngsters, In their past six meetings, Lakshya Sen and Vitidsarn had won three matches each.

Lakshya Sen made a tentative start to the match as Vitidsarn, a three-time junior world champion, got the better of the Indian in the early exchanges and built up a five-point lead at the first interval of the match.

The Indian improved after the restart and kept chipping away at his Thai opponent’s lead but Vitidsarn’s early momentum was enough to see him through in the first game.

Towards the end of the opening game, Lakshya Sen had to pause for some treatment for blisters in his foot.

The issue clearly restricted the Indian shuttler’s movement in the second game and with Vitidsarn putting up a solid display of his own, Lakshya Sen struggled to find a way back into the match despite his best efforts.

The Thai player led from start to finish and wrapped up the match and title in 57 minutes.

Indian shuttlers will be next seen in action at the All England Open 2022, which starts from March 16.

By Utathya Nag

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