US Open Badminton 2018: Ajay Jayaram works hard to win first round
Former India No. 1 men’s singles shuttler Ajay Jayaram was made to work hard for his first round win at the 2018 Yonex US Open in Fullerton, California in the USA on Wednesday. Jayaram needed 55 minutes to stave off the challenge of the 371st ranked Yun Kyu Lee of South Korea, 26-24, 17-21, 21-13 in an absorbing contest.
He was the only Indian to win on Day 2 of this Super 300 tournament as rising women’s singles star, Anura Prabhudesai lost her opener. After being completely outplayed by the World No. 42 Rachel Honderich of Canada in the first game, the 104th ranked youngster regrouped and gave a much better account of herself in the second.
However she could not prevent a defeat in straight games as Honderich closed out the 21-9, 21-17 win in just 32 minutes.
In men’s doubles, the second seeded pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy gave a walkover to the Indonesian pair of Rahmat Adianto and Rangga Yave Rianto. Attri is still recovering from a shin muscle tear that he suffered during his campaign at the Australian Open in May. That also barred the national champions from taking part at the prestigious Thomas Cup.
For Jayaram, this was a very important and confidence-boosting win. The road back from his stubborn hamstring injury has been long and arduous. The former World No. 13 was forced to miss many tournaments last year and hasn’t been able to play a full season even this year.
His ranking, as a result, has plunged to a lowly 134th as the two-time Dutch Open champion aims to work his way back to the top tier of his sport.
The Mumbai shuttler will next take on the eighth seed and World No. 31 Ygor Coelho of Brazil for a place in the quarter-finals.
India has sent a depleted contingent to the US Open this time as most of the top players are busy training for a hectic period of the calendar, that includes the Malaysia Open, the Indonesia Open, the World Championships, and the Asian Games. HS Prannoy was the winner last year while Parupalli Kashyap was the runner-up.