After a splendid performance at the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL), Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram today suffered a shock defeat against lower-ranked Chinese Yuekun Chen in the opening round of the China Masters here.
The world number 24 Indian, who had beaten the likes of world number 13 Wing ki Wong in Guangzhou, before defeating world no 5 Tien Minh Nguyen twice and world number 9 Jan o Jorgensen in the IBL, could not recreate the magic at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium here.
The Mumbai-based shuttler, who had played for champions Hyderabad Hotshots, lost 14-21 21-23 to world number 30 Chen in a 36-minute men's singles here.
Jayaram could not play his natural game as Chen dominated the nets and didn't allow the Indian to come any closer in the first game.
In the second game, Jayaram recovered from 0-4 down to move to a 10-7 lead 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 will next play in the Japan Open.
The other Indian in fray, Anand Pawar too went down 21-12 14-21 16-21 in the second round to Sho Sasaki of Japan in a 55 minute duel.
After winning the first game, the 27-year-old suffered his third defeat to Sasaki in as many clashes to end India's campaign in the tournament.
World no 37 Pawar, who got a walkover in the opening round, started off well and wrapped up the first game 21-12 against the 22nd-ranked Japanese opponent.
However, Sasaki made a strong comeback in the second game and took a 8-0 lead. The seasoned Japanese maintained his lead to clinch the game and took the match to the decider.
The final game was evenly contested before Sasaki hit a seven point rally from 11-10 to turn the tide in his favour. The Indian fought hard to match up to his opponent but the lead proved too big to overhaul.