Ajay Jayaram lone survivor in Malaysia Open after PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal exit in first round

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Ajay Jayaram lone survivor in Malaysia Open after PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal exit in first round

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SportsCafe Desk

04/05/2017

India's hopes at the Malaysia Open suffered a big blow as both PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal lost their opening round matches to exit the $600,000 tournament. On a day that was not kind to Indian shuttlers, Ajay Jayaram was the only Indian to book a place in the second round of the Superseries event.

Squaring off with fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi, Nehwal started the proceeding in dominant fashion and raced to a 13-10 lead in the first game. Yamaguchi, who overtook Carolina Marin and Sung Ji-Hyun in the latest rankings, fought back and bridged the gap to just one point, but Nehwal got the better of her to take the first game 21-19. 

Yamaguchi came out for the second game determined to make a statement and outclassed the former World No.1 Saina by winning the second game 21-13. The decider was a much closer affair but despite Nehwal putting up a tough fight, the Japanese held on to win the third set 21-17. 

India Open champions, PV Sindhu, too, suffered the same fate as Nehwal losing a highly competitive match against Chinese shuttler Chen Yufei in 67 minutes. Like Nehwal, Sindhu won the first game 21-18 but found herself on level terms with Yufei after losing the second game 21-13. In the deciding set, the Indian ace failed to recover from the second game loss and surrendered the third as well by a score of 17-21. 

But amidst all the bad news, Ajay Jayaram’s victory came as a lone solace for the Indian fans. Jayaram beat China's Qiao Bin 21-11, 21-8 in 31 minutes to enter the second round of the tournament. Sai Praneeth, too, provided some excitement by winning the first game against legendary Chineses shuttler Lin Dan but even though he came agonizingly close in the second, Dan's experience paid off as he won the decider fairly easily to book a place in the next round.

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