Lakshya Sen makes winning start at Denmark Open

Lakshya Sen trains at the Prakash Padukone badminton academy in Bengaluru. Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Fast-rising Lakshya Sen made a successful return to competitive badminton, beating Christo Popov in straight games in the opening round of USD 750,000 Denmark Open, which restarted the international calendar after a coronavirus-forced break of seven months.

The 19-year-old Indian, who had claimed five titles, including two Super 100 tournaments last year, produced a clinical performance to outwit Popov 21-9 21-15 to reach the second round.

He will take on the winner of the match between Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus and Belgium's Maxime Moreels in the second round.

"I moved quite well, that was the key. In the second game he had a lead but I had made a few mistakes. I was able to cut down on them and find my rhythm," Sen, who is currently ranked world no. 27, was quoted as saying by Badminton World Federation (BWF).

"I'm very happy to be playing again after seven months and it felt very normal on the court."

The 18-year-old Popov won silver at the Junior World Championships last year and became the top ranked junior in the world in January this year. Sen had also won bronze at the Junior World Championships in 2018 along with a silver in the Youth Olympic Games that year.

Sen was also ranked no. 1 in the junior rankings and is currently ranked 33 in the world tour rankings. He is one of four Indians in action in the tournament. Kidambi Srikanth, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey will play their first round matches on Wednesday.

Denmark Open Super 750 event is the only World Tour event happening in the rest of this year, with BWF forced to cancel multiple events and postpone the Asia leg and World Tour Finals to next year.