Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen suffered a straight game loss to Japan's Kodai Naraoka in the men's singles quarterfinal to end India's campaign at the Denmark Open Super 750 tournament in Odense on Friday. Earlier, the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag suffered a straight-game defeat against fourth seeded Malaysian duo of Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh in the quarterfinals.
Lakshya, a 2021 world championships bronze medallist, lost 17-21 12-21 to Naraoka, a bronze medallist at the 2018 Youth Olympics, in a lop-sided contest. The pair have played thrice in international circuit with the Japanese player winning twice. Interestingly, it was Lakshya who had defeated him in the 2018 Youth Olympics semifinals, their last meeting.
The 21-year-old from Japan, however, proved to be a difficult customer on Friday as he produced a dominating performance to stay ahead for most part of the contest.
After opening a 5-2 lead, Naraoka jumped to a 13-9 advantage at one stage. Lakshya had grabbed a slender 15-14 lead but his opponent quickly moved ahead to win the first game.
Things went further downhill for Lakshya in the second game as Naraoka led 5-1 before swelling it to 11-3 at the interval. Naraoka continued to dominate the proceedings to move to 13-6. Lakshya grabbed the next three points but Naraoka soon bounced back to shut the door on his rival.
Earlier, Satwik-Chirag fought hard in both games before going down 16-21 19-21 against the Malaysians. The pair have now failed to beat Chia-Soh in any of the seven meetings between them.
The Indians started fairly well, tying the game at 6-6 but failed to ever take the lead in the first game thereafter. Satwik-Chirag were not their usual exuberant selves, but kept pace with their opponents, until the Malasians opened their lead to 19-13 late on, with a flurry of points, before closing out the first game.
The second game was also an equal contest, with it tied at 9-9, before Satwik-Chirag earned four consecutive points to lead 13-9. It sparked their opponents into life, with Chia-Soh coming back to take a slender 18-15 lead. Despite a few unforced errors, they managed to close out the game and thus cement their victory.
With PTI Inputs