Ajay Jayaram into Barcelona Spain Masters semis

Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma’s run in the tournament ended in the quarter-finals.

By Andre Pitts ·

Ajay Jayaram kept Indian badminton hopes alive at the Barcelona Spain Masters after registering a straight games win at the Vall d'Hebron Olympic Sports Centre on Friday.

India’s other two quarter-final participants, Saina Nehwal went down in straight games while Sameer Verma failed to make it to the semis despite winning the opening game in his match.

Ongbamrungphan takes Saina Nehwal down

Bronze medallist from the London Olympics, Saina Nehwal took on Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, an opponent against whom she had lost her last two matches. The Indian badminton ace struggled to impose herself straight from the outset as the Thai led 11-10 at the break before going on to take the first game 22-20.

The second game saw Saina Nehwal begin well but like in the first, found herself trailing 10-11 at the break. The star Indian badminton player even led briefly after the break, however, she eventually succumbed 19-21 in the second game and crashed out of the Barcelona Spain Masters.

Ajay Jayaram will be the only Indian in the semi-finals of the Barcelona Spain Masters 2020

Ajay Jayaram produces a convincing show

Ajay Jayaram was the first Indian badminton player in action in the evening and he looked confident after coming into the match on the back of his first-ever win over Kidambi Srikanth in the previous round. He faced Frenchman Thomas Rouxel in the quarter-final and led comfortably at the break before going on to win the first game 21-14.

Thomas Rouxel had a slight lead momentarily in the second, but it was Ajay Jayaram who was once again in front at the break. The Indian shuttler led 11-10 at the break and switched gears soon after to win the second game 21-15 and progress to the semi-finals of the Barcelona Spain Masters 2020.

World no. 30 Sameer Verma, who had beaten Germany’s Kai Schaefer in the previous round, was also in action against Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn. The 25-year-old Indian fought hard but could not prevent a 21-17, 17-21, 12-21 defeat.