Ajay Jayaram, ranked 24th in the world, made a fine start to his campaign in the World Badminton Championships when he stunned 12th seed Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong in the first round of men’s singles in Guangzhou, China, on Monday. Jayaram won 22-20, 17-21, 21-15.
Meanwhile, Parupalli Kashyap had to wage a grim battle before ousting Raul Must of Estonia in another first round match. The 13th seed Indian won 19-21, 21-14, 21-9 in 56 minutes to join Jayaram in the second round.
Jayaram, who had reached the pre-quarterfinals in the last edition of the 2011 Championships in London, battled fatigue and a lapse in concentration to get the better of Wong. He will take on Spain’s Pablo Abian in the second round.
In a closely contested match, the 25-year-old from Mumbai, who had lost to Wong in their only meeting in 2011, was the first to get off the blocks and that helped him race to a handsome lead in the opening game. He had four game points and it looked as if he would pocket the first game easily. However, Wong fought back to level scores before Jayaram regrouped and took the next two points and the game.
The 12th seed hit back in the second game by engaging Jayaram in long rallies and took the match to the decider. However, Jayaram showed maturity to handle the pressure exerted by his opponent and clinched the decider along with the match.
“The shuttles were slow and I had to play patiently, waiting for my chances. In the second game, he started rallying a bit more and my patience wore out,” said Jayaram.
“I need to play with the same focus and composure in the next round,” said Jayaram.
Doubles Teams Lose Early
However, it was curtains for Ashwini Ponnappa, in women’s as well as in mixed doubles. In women’s doubles, Ponnappa and Pradyna Gadre won the first game 23-21 but lost the next two 18-21, 17-21 to the Danish combination of Line Damkjaer Kruse and Mari Roepke.
The other pair of Aparna Balan and N Sikki Reddy lost in the first round as well. The mixed doubles pairs of Ponnappa and Tarun Kona and Aparna Balan and Arun Vishnu too lost in the first round.
RESULTS (1st round): Men’s singles: Ajay Jayaram bt 12-Wing Ki Wong (HKG) 22-20, 17-21, 21-15; 13-P Kashyap bt Raul Must (EST) 19-21, 21-14, 21-9.
Women’s doubles: Aparna Balan/N Sikki Reddy lost to Lauren Smith/Gabrielle White 15-21, 17-21; Ashwini Ponnappa/Pradyna Gadre lost to Line Domkjaeir Krus/Mari Roepke 23-21, 18-21, 17-21.
Mixed doubles: Aparna Balan/Arun Vishnu lost to Min Chun Liao/Hsiao Huan Chen (TPE) 16-21, 16-21; Ashwini Ponnappa/K Tarun lost to Miyuki Maeda/Hirokatsu Hashimoto 18-21, 21-12, 19-21.