Ajay Jayaram suffered a shock first round defeat to lower-ranked Chinese Yuekun Chen in the China Masters in Changzhou on Thursday.
The world No 24 Indian, who had beaten the likes of world No 13 Wing ki Wong, before defeating No 5 Tien Minh Nguyen twice and No Jan O Jorgensen in the Indian Badminton League, could not recreate the magic at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium.
The Mumbai-based shuttler, who played for champions Hyderabad Hotshots in the just-concluded league, lost 14-21, 21-23 to the world No 30.
Jayaram was unable to get going as Chen dominated the net and scored repeatedly.
The second game was closer as Jayaram recovered from 0-4 down and led 10-7 at one stage. However, Chen was not ready to give up so easily and after a tough fight, it was the Chinese who had the last laugh.
Jayaram’s tournament is the Japan Open.
Anand Pawar, the other Indian in the fray, also lost, beaten 21-12, 14-21, 16-21 in the second round by Sho Sasaki of Japan in 55 minutes.
The 27-year-old suffered his third defeat to Sasaki in as many matches.
World No 37 Pawar, who got a walkover in the opening round, started off well and won the first game easily.
However, the 22-ranked Japanese made a strong comeback in the second and took a 8-0 lead, which he maintained to take the match to the decider.
The final game was evenly contested till Sasaki reeled off seven straight points from 11-10 to turn the tide.
Image: Ajay Jayaram