Ajay Jayaram
Credits: thebridge.in

Ace Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram notched up a dominating straight-game win over Belgium’s Maxime Moreels in the men’s singles opening round of the SaarLorLux Open Super 100 tournament here on Tuesday. The former world number 13 beat Maxime 21-8 21-8 in just 19 minutes at Saarlandhalle Saarbrücken.

Jayaram was 6-0 up quickly. In a game that hardly saw any smashes, Jayaram maintained a steady base in the middle of the court and dictated play to go into the break with a healthy 11-4 lead. Moreels, a former Belgian doubles national champion, tried to push the Indian badminton ace to the baseline but could not find the momentum to keep his shuttles inside.

Jayaram also got a few returns wrong to allow the Belgian to get to seven points. However, the Indian soon shrugged it off to give the run-around to Moreels and though Jayaram squandered a game point at 20-7, he won the opening game with a cross-court smash.

The Indian badminton player continued with the same strategy in the second game but Moreels competed better. The Belgian was successful in stretching Jayaram’s range, getting his drops and smashes right to almost draw level at 6-5. However, Jayaram went on the offensive soon enough and won five consecutive points to go into the break in the second game at 11-5. The Indian kept expanding his lead thereafter and wrapped up the match when Moreels sent a return long past the baseline.

Jayaram will next face the Netherlands’ third seed Mark Caljouw. The next round encounter against Caljouw will be a tough one for Ajay seeing his performance in recent times.

Defending champion Lakshya Sen, 2018 winner Subhankar Dey and young Malvika Bansod are also in the fray.