Chinese Taipei Open 2018: Ajay Jayaram moves into quarter-finals; Sourabh Verma bows out
Former India No. 1 Ajay Jayaram moved into the quarter-finals but Sourabh Verma lost as the second round got completed at the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2018 in Taipei City on Thursday. Jayaram breezed through the first game against the World No. 76 Kim Bruun and then held his nerves in the second to stave off a stiff resistance from the Dane for a 21-10, 22-20 win in 37 minutes.
With this win, the erstwhile World No. 13 remains the last Indian standing at this Super 300 tournament. He will take on 2016 World Junior Championship bronze medallist Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia for a place in the semi-finals.
This is the fifth quarter-final of the season on the BWF circuit for the 31-year-old Mumbai shuttler. Jayaram has been steadily building his form and confidence after returning from a hiatus due to hamstring injury.
His ranking too had slipped outside the top 100 but it has now improved to 58 after a string of consistent results on his comeback.
He made it to the final of the Vietnam Open and the White Nights International and is seeking his first title of 2018.
The 25-year-old Verma started his second round against World No. 81 Riichi Takeshita on a good note by bagging a tight opener. He, however, succumbed to pressure in another close second game before losing the match 21-19, 21-23, 16-21 in 1 hour 16 minutes.
Verma too had been troubled by an ankle injury for a long time. He returned to winning ways this year at the Russian Open, and also won an Asian Games selection tournament to earn a berth in the Indian squad.
Verma had a grand opportunity of progressing deeper into the draw at the Chinese Taipei Open after the second seed Wang Tzu Wei crashed out in the first round. The former Indian national champion was, however, unable to make the most of his chance.
With the European swing about to begin next week, the top shuttlers from India have taken a break this week.