Lakshya Sen outplayed reigning world champion Loh Ken Yew as India showed their strength to beat Singapore 3-0 to enter the mixed team final at the Commonwealth Games on Monday.
The men’s doubles pair of Satuk Sairaj Reddy and Chirag Shetty gave India a lead in the semi-finals with a 21-11, 21-12 win over Yong Kai Terry Hee and Ando Jun Kian Kwek. Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu produced a clinical 21-11, 21-12 win over 19th seed Jaya Min Yew to extend India’s lead to 2-0.
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The third match between Sen and Loh was the most anticipated rubber of the semifinals, pitting the 10th-ranked Indian against the ninth-ranked Singaporean. Sen, who extended his head-to-head count to 4-2 against Loh, took advantage of his chances against Singapore and won often.
The Indian used his booming forehand to upset Loh’s rhythm. Sen got off to a slow start as Loh raced to a 4-0 lead in the first game. He bounced back to make it 6-6 after a long rally, with Loh unsure whether to leave or hit it.
The Indian led 11-10 at the break and made it 14-10 with two unforced iron racket errors. He followed up with a powerful smash on the iron forehand to make it 16-10. Loh reduced the gap, but Sen managed to go 1-0 up in the match after Singapore netted. The second game was also a tough battle, but Sen always held the lead and closed out the match.
“It was a good match against him. I knew what to expect today. The plan worked today. Really happy that India is in the final again,” Sen said after the match and at the NEC arena. I also thanked an enthusiastic Indian crowd.
Earlier, Sindhu was always in complete control of her match against Yeo. He led 11-6 at the break in the first game. A drop shot winner after a long rally made it 13-7. This was followed by a body smash on Yeo for 16-8. Yeo made too many unforced errors.
The second game was even smoother for Sindhu who raised her hands in the air after Yeo pushed her serve wide on match point. Rankireddy and Shetty also thanked the crowd after the first match.
“It was a really important match. Whenever they chant India India, we laugh,” said Shetty.
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