Sen rallies to clinch maiden Dutch Open title

The youngster completed a stunning comeback against Japan’s Yusuke Onodera to win 15-21, 21-14, 21-15.

Indian badminton prodigy Lakshya Sen showed maturity and composure well beyond his years, as he launched a stunning comeback to win the 2019 Dutch Open in Almere, Netherlands.

Unlike the semi-finals, the 18-year-old was given a stern challenge by Japanese shuttler Yusuke Onodera, but Sen ultimately triumphed in a three-game thriller 15-21, 21-14, 21-15 that lasted more than an hour.

Starting trouble

It was Japan’s Onodera who started the final on top as he quickly raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening game. He continued his dominance in the early stage with his backhand shots causing the Sen all sorts of problems.

The Indian struggled to find the right direction with most of his shots, either hitting them straight at his opponent or into the net, going into the mid-game interval trailing at 11-7.

The second game began more evenly, as neither shuttler could capitalise on their serve which led to the scores being finely poised at 5-5. Sen also seemed hesitant to play any risky shots, prepared to play long rallies and force his opponent to commit mistakes. The move initially paid dividends as the teenager held a 11-8 advantage at the mid-game interval.

Onodera though came back strong after the interval, picking three consecutive points. Anticipating drop shots, the Japanese shuttler stood close to the net to return those with full power and win a few points.

The topsy-turvy game though once again shifted the Indian’s direction, as Sen regained his composure to win five straight points and edge closer to winning the second game. The teenager ultimately won 21-14 to force a tense finale in the Dutch Open.

Turning the tables

In the final game, Sen unleashed some of his finest badminton to race into a 9-4 lead. The Indian wasn’t afraid to try out a few smashes and effortlessly moved all around to court to make life difficult for Onodera. While the Japanese did manage to pick up a few points, Sen continued to stay on top with a few delightful drop shots that found no answer.

The Indian’s superiority reflected on the scoreline as well, as he commanded a 19-13 lead, edging closer to his first ever Dutch Open title. Sen then triumphed in a long rally with the Japanese, which culminated in his opponent hitting the shuttle out of bounds to give the young Indian the victory.

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