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Lakshya Sen loses to Qi, bows out in opening round of Badminton Asia Championships

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Ningbo (China), Apr 10 (PTI) Star Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen bowed in the opening round of men's singles at the Badminton Asia Championships after suffering a straight-game loss to local favourite and top seed Shi Yu Qi here on Wednesday.

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World Championships bronze medallist Sen gave a good account of himself and fought tooth and nail but the higher-ranked Chinese eventually proved to be too strong as the Indian lost 19-21 15-21 in the gruelling opener that lasted 53 minutes.

The Indians didn't have the desired start in the tournament as the talented Priyanshu Rajawat also crashed out in the men's singles opening round.

Rajawat was no match for eight-seeded Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, losing 9-21 13-21 in 39 minutes.

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It was also curtains for the Panda sisters -- Rutuparna and Swetaparna -- in the opening round of women's doubles, losing 8-21 13-21 against seventh seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu W of China.

Contrary to the final result, Sen gave his Chinese opponent a run for his money in the first game and didn't allow him an aggressive start.

Sen showcased brilliant court coverage and indulged the Chinese in long rallies before picking up points with his smashes and inch-perfect drop shots to lead 11-7 at the change of ends.

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Sen kept his nose ahead till 14 points even as Qi started to claw back into the contest, tiring out Sen with long rallies and then finishing the points with cross-court smashes.

The world No. 2 Qi eventually took the lead at 16-14 by securing five points in a row.

But Sen was in no mood to give up without a fight as he drew level at 19-19 before Qi pocketed the first game.

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The script was similar in the second game, as both the shuttlers were going neck and neck till the halfway break.

Sen worked hard to keep the rallies alive and made some brilliant diving saves to not allow easy points to his opponent, and at one point led 9-8.

Sen didn't give up and dived deep to save a point and then brought the equation down to 11-12.

But then unforced errors started to creep into the Indian's game. He lost steam and conceded easy points as Qi regained control and ran away with the second game. PTI SSC AM SSC AM AM

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