Lakshya Sen was leading 11-8 in the decider against Lee Zii Jia, and Prakash Padukone had been suitably supportive and calming him with soothing words until then, leaving the sterner stuff for Vimal Kumar to dispel. But the wise coach had sensed some tentativeness in his ward, which in Sen’s case can quickly escalate into a maddening flurry of errors and gifting of momentum.

Follow our All England semi-final liveblog, where Lakshya Sen will take on Jonatan Christie

It’s when Vimal recalls Padukone’s face suddenly hardened, the tone got cutting and no-nonsense. In a higher than usual pitch, Padukone bluntly reminded the youngster: “You have not come here to lose.” Sen would respond with an uncharacteristic gnashing, “Yesssss”. Vimal had stopped breathing in that fervent moment between two men whom he’d never seen so intense. It joined two All Englands 44

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