KOREA OPEN 2015 SF – Ajay to take on Chen Long

Ajay Jayaram pulled off the biggest upset on semi-finals day at the Korea Open, beating Chou Tien Chen to reach his first ever Superseries final. By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent […]

Ajay Jayaram pulled off the biggest upset on semi-finals day at the , beating Chou Tien Chen to reach his first ever final.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Ajay Jayaram (pictured) converted his brilliant week into a first-ever Superseries final appearance, with his second win this week over a seeded player.  After beating Viktor Axelsen in the opening round and then two more minor upsets, Ajay beat French Open champion Chou Tien Chen in straight games to take his place in the final against the World Champion and defending Korea Open champion Chen Long.

Ajay made brilliant use of the entire court, always keeping Chou Tien Chen (pictured below) moving and seemed to be in control for most of the match.

“The last two times, I lost to [Chou] and he kind of dominated both those matches,” said Ajay after the win.  “I think I just went too much for the attack those two times so this time, I was far more patient and as the rallies opened up, I got control more and more.  I think I played well at the net as well so it was a good match overall.”

Of his recent return to form, Ajay said, “I think it’s more mental than anything else.  I’ve just been more consistent on court.  As the rounds progress, I think I’ve actually happened to play better and better and kept the shuttle in more than I normally do.

“It’s not just one week or two weeks, or even a year.  It’s years of hard work that are finally coming together.”

Of his return from injury, Ajay said, chuckling, “Well, my shoulder is stronger!  Coming back from injury is always hard.  The first part is that you just don’t recover and it keeps hurting.  And then there is always a mental aspect.  You just keep working harder and harder so when it clicks, it does make you much stronger and ready for the harsher realities so I guess it helps in a way.”

Ajay’s next challenge is obviously much bigger than he has faced so far this week.  Chen Long has looked unbeatable in recent matches against the likes of Lee Chong Wei in the World Championship final and the Indian will need talent, possibly the element of surprise, and likely some luck if he is to prevail.

“I haven’t really thought yet about that match,” Ajay said of his looming final with the world #1, “so I have to go back and work out a plan.

“It’s definitely going to be hard because he’s the world #1 and all and the last time we played, I didn’t really play well against him.  But this tournament has been really good, I’ve played well, I’ve moved well so I am really very confident and positive.

“I’ll try not to dwell too much on the past four matches and just focus on the final now,” also nodding in thanks to a journalist who suggested he discuss the match with team-mate Kashyap Parupalli, who has beaten Chen Long more than once.

Finals line-up
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] vs. Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang     (KOR)
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN) [4] vs. Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [6]
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Ajay Jayaram (IND)
WD: Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii (INA) [6] vs. Jang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR)
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] vs. Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [2]

Click here for complete semi-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net