Lakshya Sen was surfing on a pretty high career wave exactly a year back. Having clinched a bronze at the 2021 World Championships in December

A study found that taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bed could help people fall asleep more quickly.

the 21-year-old claimed the India Open crown in January following it up with a runner-up performance at the German Open in March.

The shuttler from Almora made the headlines yet again a week later when he became only the fifth Indian to reach the final off the All England Open Badminton Championships.

Birmingham has been fortuitous venue for the shuttler from Almora having also clinched the Commonwealth Games gold there last year in August.

Sen will return to the English town with an aim to finish what he started last year – become only the third Indian after Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand to win the celebrated tournament.

But the pathway is laden with multiple obstacles, starting with Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in Round 1, 

who won bronze at last year’s World Championships. Sen is yet to beat the fifth seed but had it in him to push the previous two contests into the third game.

The road isn’t exactly easy for world No 12 Sen’s compatriots HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth – the other two Indians in the men’s singles draw.

The 32 chosen for the are the finest in the world with tough competitions from the opener itself at the $1.25 million tournament.

India’s highest-ranked player Prannoy has been in good form in the past year, earning big wins against top players but somehow not managing to win tournaments – apart from the glorious Thomas Cup chapter last year.

The world No 9 will open against Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei against whom Prannoy has a 4-3 record. Former world No 1 Srikanth will face Toma Junior Popov of France in Round 1.

All three will run into seeded entries in either the first or the second rounds making competition tougher as they progress at Arena Birmingham.