BWF World Championships: Kidambi Srikanth makes history to reach final, Lakshya Sen settles for bronze

Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian shuttler to reach the men’s singles final at the badminton world championships.

By Aarish Ansari
Picture by Badmintonphoto - Courtesy of BWF

India’s Kidambi Srikanth came back from a game down to defeat compatriot Lakshya Sen 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 to qualify for the finals of the men’s singles at the BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva, Spain on Saturday.

With the win, Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian to feature in the men’s singles final at a badminton world championships.

India have won two bronze medals in the men’s singles at the badminton world championships with Prakash Padukone in 1983 and B Sai Praneeth in 2019.

The 28-year-old Srikanth will now face Loh Kean Yew for the gold medal on Sunday.

The all-Indian semi-final began with some brilliant net play from the world No. 14 Kidambi Srikanth. However, the 19th-ranked Lakshya Sen, playing at his first world championship, showed great court awareness to keep the pressure on the senior Indian and raced to 16-13.

Former world No. 1 Kidambi clawed back to go up 17-16 but could not sustain the run. Lakshya took full advantage of the fellow Indian’s errors and won five straight points to take the opening game 21-17.

The 12th seeded Kidambi Srikanth had a slow start in the second game as well but soon switched gears, going from 4-8 down to 11-9 up at the mid-game interval. The unseeded Lakshya Sen tried to break Srikanth’s momentum after the breather but the higher-ranked Indian kept his calm to win the second game 21-14 and force a decider.

The third game was an intense contest, with both players giving it their all for a place in the final.

Lakshya Sen’s incredible defence helped him take an 11-8 lead but Kidambi Srikanth, just like the previous games, came back fighting to level 13-13.

The match could have gone either way till 16-16 when Lakshya Sen buckled under the pressure and made a few unforced errors, which proved decisive.

Kidambi Srikanth’s superior game in the front court, coupled with Lakshya Sen’s wide-landing shots helped Srikanth win the game 21-17 and wrap up the thrilling match in 69 minutes.

Lakshya Sen will also end his campaign with a bronze medal as both losing semi-finalists are awarded a medal.

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