Kuala Lumpur: India’s challenge at the Malaysia Open came to an end as Ajay Jayaram lost 18-21, 14-21 to fifth-seed Son Wan Ho in a one-sided match on Friday.
This was Jayaram’s fourth successive loss against his South Korean opponent. He was the only Indian to progress beyond the first round at the Superseries Premier event.
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The 28-year-old Korean was firmly in control throughout the match and led 11-6 at the changeover in the first game. Jayaram fought back and came within a point of Son at 16-17 but the latter won four of the next six points to win the game.
The second game was a fairly straightforward affair as Son won six points in a row after trailing 1-4 initially. He never let go off that lead and increased it to seven points while leading 18-11 before closing out the match on his first match point. The match lasted 37 minutes.
The 29-year-old Indian had earlier defeated world no. 2 Viktor Axelsen in the second round. Jayaram, 29, overcame long periods of injuries over the past few years to fight his way back into the sport. In 2015, he became only the second Indian after Kidambi Srikanth to make a Superseries final, at the Korea Open.
By a quirk of fate, Jayaram had failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics despite being higher ranked than P Kashyap, who eventually took part.