Fourth seed Ajay Jayaram made to the last four of the US Open Grand Prix Gold tournament on Friday, after getting past compatriot Anand Pawar 21-11, 21-11 in the quarter-finals. Ajay Jayaram will now take on Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan, who got past eighth seed Pablo Abian enroute to the semis.
Ajay Jayaram, ranked 22 in the world, was coming into the match fresh from easy wins over Pedro Martins and Raul Must, with his first round opponent Joachim Persson handing him a walkover. He also held a psychological advantage over Anand Pawar, whom he had beaten easily at the All England Open, and enjoyed a 3-2 head-to-head record. The stark difference in their rankings was for all to see, as Ajay Jayaram raced away to a 6-0 lead over his compatriot, in the first game. Pawar struggled to catch up with the 4th seed and went into the break trailing 5-11. The break did nothing to help the Mumbaikar as he fell behind 6-16. Jayaram stuck to the basics and made no mistakes, to win the game 21-11 and put one leg into the semi-finals.
Game 2 appeared to start on a more even note, but at 2-1, Jayaram collected 5 straight points to manage a 7-1 lead. Pawar tried a mini-comeback cutting the 28-year old’s lead to three points, but Jayaram was in sublime form and he maintained the gap heading into the break 11-7. It was one-way traffic from thereon, as Ajay Jayaram finished the game in a hurry, winning it 21-11 to set up a semi-final clash with Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan.
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