Sometimes matches are won in the mind as much as on the court. Local boy Ajay Jayaram proved just that when he upset fourth seed Peter Mikkelsen of Denmark in the third round of the Indian International Badminton Championship in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old, playing in his first year of senior circuit, believed in his abilities despite losing the first game and mixed aggression with deception to win 14-21, 21-14, 21-16 and book a quarterfinal date with fifth seed Cheol Ho Lee of South Korea. Lee got the better of Rohan Castelino 21-10, 21-11.
Also knocked out was third seed P Kashyap. The 20-year-old was simply not in his element, going down 21-17, 21-11 in the third round against Hoon Min Jung.
But the day definitely belonged to Jayaram. The trainee of the Prakash Padukone academy took some time to settle down and that proved to be his undoing as Mikkelsen raced to a 16-10 lead and settled the issue in no time.
Jayaram was not the one to give up so easily.
He went on the offensive at the start of the second game and, after taking a comfortable 8-2 lead, began controlling the pace of the game with some fine net dribbles and deceptive drops.
The decider turned out to be a topsy-turvey affair before Jayaram decided to go for the kill and unleashed a barrage of forehand winners to take the tie in 45 minutes.
“In the first game, I just could not judge the speed of the game,” Jayaram said after the match. “Then in the second game I went of the offensive.”
Jayaram rates this win as his second best after the upset of world number 12 Eric Pang of the Netherlands. He said the most important part of his gameplan was the belief in his ability to play his shots on important occasions. “That really helped me in the decider when he began to close in. I started attacking at the slightest opportunity and it worked wonders.”
Third seed Trupti Murgunde of India was shown the door by Korea's Jung Soo Hong 22-20, 21-9 in the women's second round.
Results (Indians unless specified otherwise)
Men's singles (third round): Chetan Anand bt Abhinn Shyam Gupta 21-7 21-17; Anand Pawar bt Dennis Prehn (Den) 21-16 21-10; Ajay Jayaram bt Peter Mikkelsen (Den) 14-21 21-14 21-16; Ho Ceol Lee (Kor) bt Rohan Castellino 21-10 21-11; Michael Christense bt Gholamerza Bagheri 21-17 6-0 (Irn) (conceded) ; Min Hoon Jung (Kor) bt P Kashyap 21-17 21-11; Nikhil Kanetkar bt Sagar Chopda 21-19 21-17; Hun Dong Kim (Kor) bt Ravinder Singh 21-16 19-21 21-19.
Men's doubles first round: Sun Young Kim/Seok Chung Evi (Kor) bt Mayur Ghatnekar/Rohit More 21-9 21-10; Hun Dong Kim/Cheol Baek Shin (Kor) bt Jishnu Sanyal/Akshay Devalkar 21-13 21-23 21-15; J Ismail/Jose George bt Ahsun Habib/Abdul Hanman (Ban) 21-10, 21-15; Bristow Markose/Xavier Jaison bt Ho Lee Cheol/Min Jung Hoon 21-17 17-21 21-19; Hwang Le Jung/Jung Kim Ki (Kor) bt Lasitha Menaka/Amila Yatipana (Sri) 21-7 21-5
Women' singles second round: Saina Nehwal bt Jui Agaskar 21-12 21-2; Ruth Misha bt Neha Pandit 22-20 24-22; Aditi Mutatkar bt Krishna Dekaraja 25-23, 21-16; Hi Moon Kim (Kor ) bt Sharda Govardhini 21-14 21-12; Eun Kyung Jung (Kor) bt Shruti Kurian 17-21 21-12 21-6; Jung Soo Hong (Kor) bt Trupti Murgunde 22-20,21-9; Jwala Gutta bt Sayali Gokhale 21-18 21-16; Jan Soo Young (Kor) bt Abantika Deka 21-13 21-8.