Mumbai boy Ajay Jayaram raised quite a few eyebrows when he decided to shift base from Prakash Padukone academy in Bangalore to Lucknow to train a few months ago. But that move proved worthwhile as the 23-year-old upset 15th seed Kenichi Tago of Japan in straight sets to advance to the second round of the World badminton championship that began in London on Monday.
Generally known as someone who is vulnerable under pressure, Jayaram's composure in the second game helped him win on third match point 21-12, 21-19 at the Wembley Arena.
"Yes, I was excited after taking the lead in the second game and made a few errors. But training under Tom John (in Lucknow) has made me more aggressive and confident," said Jayaram, who is playing his first ever world championship. The world No 35 will now face Vladimir Ivanov of Russia in the second round.
"We knew that if he (Tago) starts attacking then he is very dangerous. But once I started keeping the shuttle behind him, he only was smashing straight and I was always ready for it," Jayaram told HT.
The Indian doubles contingent also began on a promising note with Commonwealth Games champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa winning their first round encounter against Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana 21-9, 21-18.
Kevin Cordon of Guatemala pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he sent fifth seed Chen Long of China packing.
Kevin had to work hard but in the end pumped his fist in the air after winning 21-19, 8-21, 27-25 against his illustrious opponent.