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Vietnam Open 2018: Ajay Jayaram enters final, Mithun Manjunath goes down fighting

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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373   //    11 Aug 2018, 18:12 IST

YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships - Day Two- 2017
Ajay Jayaram

Former India No. 1 men’s singles shuttler, Ajay Jayaram continues his brilliant week at the Yonex Sunrise Vietnam Open 2018 as he made it to the final of this Super 100 tournament in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Saturday. Jayaram needed just 34 minutes to upset the seventh seed and World No. 49 Yu Igarashi of Japan, 21-14, 21-19.

Indonesia’s World No. 79 Shesar Hiren Rhustavito prevented an all-Indian showdown in the summit clash as he edged Mithun Manjunath 21-17, 19-21, 21-14 in a marathon semi-final that lasted 59 minutes.

Jayaram has met Rhustavito only once before. At the Thailand Open in 2013, he took three games to get the better of the Indonesian in the first round. The Mumbai shuttler was the fifth seed at that tournament while Rhustavito was unseeded.

Five years later, it is the Indonesian who is ranked 14 places higher than the Indian. Jayaram reached his career-best ranking of 13th in June of last year, but ever since then, things have gone downhill for the Indian.

A stubborn hamstring injury robbed him of a chance to build on his ranking and he had to miss a chunk of the season. Even this year, he had to play intermittently in the beginning of the season as he kept working on a full recovery from his injury.

It was only in May that he started playing full-fledged on the circuit again. In June, he reached the semi-finals of the US Open and then followed it up with a run to the final at the White Nights International, where he lost to Pablo Abian in three games.

After a second round defeat to compatriot, Subhankar Dey at the Russian Open, Jayaram has once again reached a final and is now looking to win his first international title since triumphing at the Dutch Open in 2015.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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