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Ajay Jayaram defeats Yu Igarashi to advance into Vietnam Open final


Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram defeated Yu Igarashi of Japan to enter the final of the USD 75,000 Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh on Saturday.

Facing the seventh seed Japanese, Ajay marked his comeback from a hamstring injury with a straight-set victory, needing just 34 minutes to overcome Igarashi 21-14, 21-19 and advance into the final.

Just one step away from his first title of the season, the 30-year-old will next face Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia on Sunday.

World No. 79 Shesar overcame Mithun Manjunath of India 21-17, 19-21, 21-14 in a marathon match that lasted 59 minutes.

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Jayaram, who was playing his first tournament ever since suffering a hamstring injury last year, looked in fine touch throughout the clash. The former World No. 13, took a slender 3-1 lead at the start and then opened up a three-point advantage at the interval, with the game at 11-8.

He was at his imperative best on return and clinched five straight points to move to a 15-8 lead and although Igarashi tried to claw his way back, the deficit was too big for him to stop Jayaram. The Japanese eventually failed as the Indian comfortably won 21-14.

In contrast, it was Igarashi who began well in the second game taking 4-1 lead initially but Jayaram fought his way back with three consecutive points to level terms. Having found some much-needed form the Japanese went toe-on-toe with Jayaram, who had a slender 11-10 lead at the break.

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But the Indian was at his lethal best once again after the break, taking five points while Igarashi managed just one at 16-11. He recovered well at 18-19 but just when the game looked set to go into a tie-breaker, Jayaram shut the door on his opponent and sealed his final appearance in over a year.

Interestingly, it is also for the third straight week that an Indian shuttler will be playing in a Badminton tournament final.

PV Sindhu last week had to settle for a silver after losing the Badminton World Championship final against Carolina Marin of Spain. While two weeks ago Sourav Verma had clinched the Russia Open Tour Super 100 tournament.