It was a mixed day for the Indian Shuttlers in the opening round of the Li-Ning China Masters Badminton Tournament 2012. Ajay Jayaram, P.V Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, R.M.V Gurusaidutt and Sourabh Verma won their respective matches, but for the young pairs of Akshay Dewalkar/Pranaav Chopra and Tarun Kona/Arun Vishnu in men’s doubles and Anand Pawar in men’s singles their campaign has ended in heartbreak. India’s top Badminton player and London Olympics Bronze medalist Saina Nehwal is not playing in this tournament.
Unseeded Ajay Jayaram caused a big upset in Li Ning China Masters 2012 by thrashing 3rd seeded Kenichi Tago of Japan in straight games 21-13 21-17 in the first round. Jayaram, who is currently World No. 32 defeated World No. 9 Japanese Shuttler in just 40 minutes. In the entire match Ajay Jayaram smashed 41 winners in comparison to Tago’s 29. He will now meet World No. 64 Zi Liang Derek Wong of Singapore in the next round.
Parupalli Kashyap, who reached the quarterfinal at London Olympics, also won the first round match by defeating the local player Huan Gao in three sets. Kashyap, who is the current World No. 20 and seeded 8th at the tournament defeated Qualifier Gao by 21-13 14-21 21-19 in 1 hour and 18 mins. He will now face another Indian player R.M.V Gurusaidutt in the next round.
Gurusaidutt overcame a strong challenge from the World No. 31 Malaysian player Muhammad Hafiz Hashim. Gurusaidutt, who is World No. 56, defeated Hashim by 21-18, 19-21 and 21-13. This Men’s Singles match lasted for 60 minutes and they kept the audience hooked till the end at the local badminton arena of Changzhou, China.
Another Indian Badminton star, Sourabh Verma defeated the higher ranked opponent Darren Liew of Malaysia in the first round.Verma, who is No. 40 in the World Rankings, defeated World No 28 Liew in 63 mins by 19-21 21-17 21-12. He will now play World No. 30 Taipei player Hsu Jen Hao in the 2nd round.
In the absence of star shuttler Saina Nehwal,17 year old P.V Sindhu is India’s sole representative in Women’s Singles Category in the tournament. Sindhu, who is the current Asian Youth U-19 Badminton Champion and World No. 25 defeated a much lower ranked American player, Jamie Subandhi by 21-15 21-12. She will now face 8th seeded and No. 14 Thai player Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the next round.
There was a bit of disappointment in the men’s doubles category as the two Indian pairs lost in the first round. Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu gave a tough fight to higher ranked Danish opponents, but unfortunately lost by 18-21 21-12 21-19.
Another Indian pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Chopra lost to Patipat Chalardchaleam and Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand by 21-11 17-21 21-18. The only disappointing news in men’s singles category came from the match between Anand Pawar and Jin Chen. Pawar lost to the 2nd seed, World No. 4 and London Olympics Bronze medalist Jin Chen of China by 21-17 21-12.