Lakshya Sen takes on Kidambi Srikanth as for the first time two Indians face off in the semifinals of the BWF World Championships.
Srikanth is a former world no.1 who is on a resurgent run after a slump that has lasted almost three years. Just last month, the 28-year-old had told ESPN that he had had to “start from scratch.” Now he stands on the cusp of climbing back atop. Some effort that has been. To get to the semifinal, he beat Spain’s Pablo Abian 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) in the first round before a mammoth 2-1 win over China’s Shi Li Feng (15-21, 21-18, 21-17). Shi’s compatriot Lu Guang Zu was beaten in a far more straightforward manner (21-10, 21-15) before the virtual stroll of a quarterfinal against Netherland’s Mark Caljouw (21-8, 21-7).
Lakshya meanwhile is in inspired form in what has been his breakthrough year on tour. The 20-year-old has reached the semifinals the hard way, involved in two three-gamers. After a walkover in the first round, he beat Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 20-22, 21-15, 21-18 in the second. The next round was much swifter, as he eased past surprise Olympic semifinalist Kevin Cordon of Guatemala. Then came the immense quarterfinal in which he outlasted China’s Jun Peng Zhao 21-15, 15-21, 22-20.
Both Indians will travel back home with at least a bronze (there is no bronze medal playoff), but who can become the first Indian man to reach a World Championship final? You can follow all the action, shot by shot, right here on our live blog –
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