Ajay Jayaram, Subhankar Dey, Aakarshi Kashyap storm into Belgian International Challenge quarters

Fifth seed Ajay Jayaram beat Arnaud Merkle of France 12-21, 21-19, 21-15
Fifth seed Ajay Jayaram beat Arnaud Merkle of France 12-21, 21-19, 21-15

Ajay Jayaram, Subhankar Dey and Aakarshi Kashyap stormed into the quarter-finals at the Belgian International Challenge in Leuven, Belgium on Friday.

The four-day International Challenge tournament is being organized by the Belgian Badminton Federation under the auspices of Badminton World Federation.

Ajay Jayaram rallied back splendidly to down Arnaud Merkle of France 12-21, 21-19, 21-15 in the men's singles pre-quarter-final.

Fifth seed Ajay got off to a poor start and lost the first game quite easily. However, Ajay staged a spectacular comeback to claim the next two games to close out the match in 53 minutes.

Ajay Jayaram beats Denmark's Mads Christophersen in first round

Ajay quelled a spirited challenge from Denmark's Mads Christophersen 21-19, 18-21, 21-11 in the earlier round.

World No. 63 Ajay will clash with Hashiru Shimono of Japan for a spot in the semi-finals. Ajay had beaten World No. 108 Shimono in their only previous meeting at the Chinese Taipei Open in 2018 in three games. Ajay has been trying to return after overcoming a series of injuries. Ajay was India's best shuttler before but has now slipped down the rankings.

Second seed Subhankar Dey overcomes fight of Dane Ditlev in second round

Subhankar Dey overcame a stiff challenge from Ditlev Jaeger Hohm of Denmark before registering a 22-20, 21-19 win in 46 minutes.

Second seed Subhankar Dey beat Ditlev Jaeger Hohm of Denmark 22-20, 21-19 in the second round
Second seed Subhankar Dey beat Ditlev Jaeger Hohm of Denmark 22-20, 21-19 in the second round

Second seed Subhankar was stretched in both games but managed to hang on to reach the last eight. World No. 56 Subhankar will face Yusuke Onodera in the quarters.

World No. 120 Yusuke Onodera had beaten Subhankar Dey 13-21, 21-11, 21-10 at the Dubai International Challenge in 2019.

Aakarshi Kashyap rallies to pip Malaysian player in three games

Aakarshi Kashyap remains the only Indian women's singles player in the fray. Sixth seed Aakarshi Kashyap recorded a come-from-behind win over Eoon Qi Xuan of Malaysia to book her last-8 spot.

World No. 83 Aakarshi overcame a scratchy start to post a brilliant 16-21, 21-16, 21-15 win in 59 minutes.

Aakarshi will lock horns with Riko Gunji, ranked 213 in the world, in the quarters.

At the 2017 Badminton Asia U-17 & U-15 Junior Championships, the Indian girl had lost to the Japanese.

Other Indians in the fray played well but bowed out of the competition.

Jia Heng Jason Teh of Singapore stopped a good run of qualifiers Harsheel Dani 21-18, 21-15 in 40 minutes.

Joran Kweekel of Netherlands rallied back to defeat Siril Verma 19-21, 21-19, 21-12 in 47 minutes.

Similarly, Japan's Yusuke Onodera squeezed past C Rahul Yadav 21-16, 19-21, 21-12 in an hour and 4 minutes.

Riku Hatano of Japan thumped K Sathish Kumar 21-18, 21-16 in 40 minutes.

Canadian women's singles shuttler Rachel Chan shocked seventh seed Mugdha Agrey 21-14, 21-10 in 28 minutes.

Qualifier Tanya Hemanth's splendid run was cut short in the women's singles first round by an Indonesian.

Putri Kusuma Wardani defeated Tanya Hemanth 21-17, 13-21, 21-19 in 61 minutes.

Wen Chi Hsu of Chinese Taipei outclassed K Sri Krishna Priya 21-10, 21-12 in 27 minutes. Lauren Lam of the USA got the better of Ira Sharma 21-13, 21-13.

Two Indian men’s doubles pairs were beaten in the first round. Takuto Inque and Kenya Mitsuhashi of Japan prevailed over Kona Tarun and Shivam Sharma 21-15, 21-14.

Chia Weijie and Low Hang Yee of Malaysia downed India’s Vasantha Kumar and Ashith Surya 21-18, 21-6 in 23 minutes.

In the mixed doubles, Yujiro Nishikawa and Saori Ozaki of Japan edged past India's Ashith Surya and Pranjal Prabhu Chimulkar 21-11, 20-22, 21-15 in 46 minutes.

Quarter-final line-up

Men’s singles

5-Ajay Jayaram vs Hashiru Shimono (Japan)

2-Subhankar Dey vs Yusuke Onodera (Japan)

Women’s singles

6-Aakarshi Kashyap vs Riko Gunji (Japan)

Indian Results (Pre-quarter-finals)

Men’s singles

5-Ajay Jayaram bt Arnaud Merkle (France) 12-21, 21-19, 21-15 (53 minutes)

2-Subhankar Dey bt Ditlev Jaeger Hohm (Denmark) 22-20, 21-19 (46 minutes)

Women’s singles

6-Aakarshi Kashyap bt Eoon Qi Xuan (Malaysia) 16-21, 21-16, 21-15 (59 minutes)

Men’s doubles

Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala lost to Emil Lauritzen-Mads Vestergaard (Denmark) 21-18, 19-21, 16-21 (51 minutes).

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