Birmingham, Aug 1: Lakshya Sen outsmarted reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew as India showed their might to blank Singapore 3-0 and enter the mixed team final at the Commonwealth Games here on Monday.
The men's doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Reddy and Chirag Shetty gave India the lead in the semifinal with a 21-11, 21-12 win over Yong Kai Terry Hee and Andu Jun Kian Kwek.
Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu was clinical against 19th-ranked Jia Min Yeo for a 21-11, 21-12 result to extend India's lead to 2-0.
The third match between Sen and Loh was the most anticipated rubber of the semifinal with the 10th-ranked Indian facing the ninth-ranked Singaporean. Sen, who extended his head to head count over Loh to 4-2, took his chances against the Singaporean and succeeded more often than not.
The Indian used his booming forehand to upset Loh's rhythm. Sen started slow as Loh took a 4-0 lead in the first game. He bounced back to make it 6-6 after a long really, with Loh not sure whether to leave it or hit it.
The Indian went into the break with a slender 11-10 advantage and made it 14-10 with two unforced errors from Loh's racket. He followed up with a powerful smash on Loh's forehand and made it 16-10.
Loh narrowed the gap, but Sen managed to go 1-0 up in the match after the Singaporead found the net.
The second game too was a tough battle, but Sen always maintained the lead and closed out the match.
"It was a good match against him. I knew what to expect today. The plan worked today. Really happy that India is in the final again," Sen said after the match and also thanking a vociferous Indian crowd at the NEC arena.
Earlier, Sindhu was always in control against Yeo. She led 11-6 at the first game interval. A drop shot winner after a long rally made it 13-7. It was followed by a body smash on Yeo for 16-8. Too many unforced errors were committed by Yeo.
The second game too was smooth for Sindhu who raised her hands in the air after Yeo pushed a service wide on match point.
Rankireddy and Shetty also thanked the crowd after the first match.
"It was a really important match. We felt the goosebumps everytime they chanted India India," said Shetty.