TOKYO: India's Lakshya Sen continued his impressive run, notching up a straight-game win over local hope Koki Watanabe to progress to the semifinals of the Japan Open Super 750 badminton tournament here on Thursday.
A 2021 world championship bronze medallist, world number 13 Sen registered a 21-15 21-19 victory over Watanabe, ranked 33rd, to make his third successive semifinals, following his exploits in Canada and the United States.
The 21-year-old from Almora, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, will play either fifth-seed Indonesian Jonatan Christie or third-seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand.
In-form men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, however, couldn't produce their 'A' game, going down fighting 15-21 25-23 16-21 to Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lan of Chinese Taipei.
Sen, who had won the Canada Open Super 500 early this month, opened up a 5-3 lead early on before moving to 11-7 at the break.
The Indian didn't have much problem negotiating the Japanese and soon sealed the opening game with two cross-court returns on both side of the court.
After the change of sides, Watanabe tried to inject some pace in the rallies but Sen looked in control and moved to 3-2 with a lovely cross-court drop.
A 42-shot rally ended with Sen's backhand crashing into the net as Watanabe turned it around to lead 5-3 before consolidating it further at 7-3.
The Japanese strengthened his defense as soon things seemed like going down the downhill for Sen, who trailed 7-14.
However, the Indian scripted a turnaround, drawing his opponent to the net and using the drop shots to good effect.
He soon turned the tables at 18-17 with a cross court smash.
With two returns on his opponent's backhand, Sen gained one-match point before producing another precise return at the back-line and then threw his racquet in celebration.
The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.
One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.