US Open Badminton 2018: Ajay Jayaram goes down fighting in semi-finals, Indian challenge ends
Former India No. 1 men’s singles shuttler, Ajay Jayaram’s brilliant run at the Yonex US Open 2018 in Fullerton, California, USA came to an end on Saturday with his loss to the sixth seed Mark Caljouw in the semi-finals. The Indian put up a late fightback but it was not enough to overcome the determined Frenchman, who closed out the 21-13, 23-21 win in 36 minutes.
With Jayaram’s loss, it was the end of the road for the Indian challenge at this BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament.
Due to a hectic stretch of the BWF calendar coming up, most of the top Indian shuttlers stayed away from this tournament. The Malaysia Open, a Super 750 event, begins on June 26. It will be followed by the Indonesia Open, a Super 1000 tournament. At the end of July, the World Championships is scheduled with the Asian Games to follow soon after.
The former World No. 13 Jayaram was thus the only star entrant from India as the rest of the contingent remained busy with training, which is in sharp contrast to how the picture was last year when HS Prannoy beat Parupalli Kashyap in an all-Indian final.
The Mumbai ace needed some match play to get back his confidence. A stubborn hamstring injury had robbed him a chance to play in any tournament last year since the World Championships and did not allow him to play a full season even this year. The hiatus sent him tumbling out of the top 100 in the world rankings.
Jayaram made a full fledged comeback at the China Masters in April. The US Open was just his fourth tournament since his return.
This was also the first time in 17 months that the 30-year-old won three matches in a row at any tournament. He had to work hard in his first couple of rounds and needed three games to win.
The biggest scalp for the currently 134th ranked Jayaram was the eighth seed and World No. 31 Ygor Coelho of Brazil in the second round.