Ajay Jayaram exacted revenge for his defeat at the India Open by beating World No.5 Viktor Axelsen to book his place in the quarterfinals. In a match that lasted 44 minutes, Jayaram had to come back from a game down to beat Axelsen and keep the Indian challenge alive in Malaysia.
Jayaram was out of the blocks quickly as he won the first two points but Axelsen won the next four to take a two-point lead of his own. The players kept exchanging points till Jayaram finally caught up with the Axelsen at 8-8. However, the Dane then went on an unbelievable 10-point winning run that put the Indian on the backfoot and the former easily secured the first game by a score of 21-9. This was a massive contrast to the last match the duo played in the India Open where the Dane had emerged victorious in two closely fought sets.
In the second game, however, after the exchanging the opening points, it was Jayaram who took the initiative again and raced to an 8-3 lead. Axelsen wasn't going to make the same mistake as his opponent did in the first game and cut the deficit to just one point winning four points on the trot. Jayaram went into the interval with a slender one point lead that was quickly canceled out after the break. But with the score set at 12-12, it was Jayaram's turn to pick up a few points in a row as he quickly established a six-point lead and five points later closed out the second game, 21-14.
The third set was a cagey affair with no player able to win more than two points in a row. With momentum on this side, it was Jayaram who seized the opportunity to take the lead and went into the interval with a four-point advantage. But the fourth seed was not ready to surrender just yet as he rallied back to level the game at 12-12. Nobody was able to gain any sort of an advantage as no player won more than a point at a stretch. However, after being ousted from the India Open last week, Jayaram was in no mood to let the Dane take the honors again winning the game and the match by 21-19.
The Indian will now face Son Wan-Ho in the quarterfinal of the event and should he win it will be a dream match against Lin Dan that awaits Jayaram.
Chahal or Axar? Who will take more wickets for India?
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