Bangkok: The Indian challenge at the Thailand Open ended after Lakshya Sen lost a tough three-game men's singles semifinal to Thailand's second seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn here on Saturday
Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya looked in control in the first game against his seeded opponent but lost his way as the match progressed to eventually go down 21-13, 17-21, 13-21 in a contest that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.
Lakshya had entered the semifinal for the first time this season, having come close in Indonesia Masters, where he exited in the quarterfinals.
His ranking has dropped down to 23 from a career-high sixth due to a string of below-par performances this year.
It was neck-and-neck between the two shuttlers initially in the first game before Lakshya surged to 11-6 lead at the break.
The Thai came out strong after the break and won four straight points to reduce the lead to 11-10. But Lakshya upped his game just at the nick of time to take a five-point lead and pocketed the opening game quite easily.
The second game was fought on an even keel between the two players as they matched each other till 10 points before Vitidsarn used his cross-court smashes to take a narrow 12-10 lead for the first time in the match.
The Indian, however, forced his way with the help of long rallies and precise drop shots as the battle continued between the two players.
But Vitidsarn raised his game a few notches and pocketed four straight points to win the second game and take the match into decider.
In the decider, Lakshya let slip a 10-6 advantage.
The long rallies finally took a toll on the Indian, who looked tired as the final game progressed, handing Vitidsarn a substantial 18-12 lead and then Thai closed out the match.
The home favourite will take on Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu in Sunday's summit clash.
Lee beat France's Toma Junior Popov 21-14, 21-16 in the other semifinal.