Ajay Jayaram provided a scintillating start to India's World Championships campaign here on Monday when the world number 24 stunned higher-ranked Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong in the men's singles first round.
Jayaram, who had reached the pre-quarterfinals of the event's last edition in 2011, battled fatigue and lapse in concentration to get the better of Wong 22-20, 17-21, 21-15. He will take on Spain's Pablo Abian in the second round.
The 25-year-old from Mumbai, who had lost to Wong in their only earlier meeting in 2011, was first to get off the blocks and that helped him race to a handsome lead in the opening game. It looked he would pocket the game rather easily with four game points until Wong fought back to level scores before Jayaram regrouped and took the next two points and the game.
The world number 12 hit back in the second game by engaging in long rallies, taking the match to the decider.
The Indian showed the maturity to handle the pressure exerted by his opponent to win a tight contest.
"The shuttles were slow and I had to play patiently, waiting for my chances. In the second game, he started rallying a bit more and my patience wore out," said Jayaram, who also had to tackle fatigue as he only recovered from illness a week ago.
"I am very happy with the way I fought hard both mentally and physically. I need to play with the same focus and composure in the next round.
While Jayaram made a winning start, India's challenge in mixed doubles came to an end with the combinations of Aparna Balan/Arun Vishnu and Ashwini Ponnappa/Tarun Kona losing in the first round.
2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Parupalli Kashyap will play later in the day, while the women's singles stars - Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu - have received a bye in the first round.
Ajay Jayaram bt 12-Wing Ki Wong (HKG) 22-20, 17-21, 21-15
Aparna Balan/Arun Vishnu lost to Min Chun Liao/Hsiao Huan Chen (TPE) 21-16, 21-16 Ashwini Ponnappa/Tarun Kona lost to Miyuki Maeda/Hirokatsu Hashimoto 21-18, 12-21, 21-19
Aparna Balan/N Sikki Reddy lost to Lauren Smith/Gabrielle White 21-15, 21-17