On Sunday, Lakshya Sen managed to save 4 game points in the 2nd after taking the very first claim on the Canada Open Super 500 being hosted in Calgary. Sen scored straight 6 points and won the championship against his Chinese opponent Li Shifeng – Sen won 21-18, 22-20, and that too in 50 minutes.
After the India Open, where Sen beat the then reigning All-England Champion, this is Sen’s second Super 500 title of his professional career – he managed to add extra acceleration onto all his flat drives while pouncing on all his short lifts and played certain ridiculous tight shots right through the net.
Sen took a solid 6-2 lead during the Opener and passionately guarded his lead throughout the 1st set, although Shifeng leveled at 15-all. Incorporating speed into his returns, Sen was able to set up winners every time any loose shuttle floated near him, thereby collecting points in a cluster.
Sen did not give up on the initiative even at 15-all – instead, he decided to go on the offensive straightaway, accompanied by 3 quick points. In this case, winning this particular opener did give Sen the mental advantage over his Chinese counterpart in a match where both the players were playing at an impactful speed of rallies.
During the time when Sen had made it to the finals of All-England, it was mentioned that no lead would be considered to be safe around Sen. In what you can call a definitive signal toward returning to form, Sen actually ended up making a mockery of the whole 20-16 lead as his Chinese opponent struggled to finish.
In this context, Coach Anup Sridhar said,
Lakshya did not give up at 20-16. It is so easy to slip into that frame of mind that he’s won the first and can play the decider. But as coach, I kept telling him one point at a time. He would’ve been alright had it gone to the third, too, such is his physical fitness. But it was important once he got to 20-all, he did not breathe a sigh of relief because had he lost that game from there, he would’ve been demoralized. He played those last two long rallies superbly and sent the lifts higher, which won him the match.
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