Saina Nehwal crossed her first hurdle comfortably, but the highlight of the day for the Indians came when Ajay Jayaram registered a stunning victory over world number seven Tien Minh Nguyen to sent him crashing out of the Japan Super Series in straight-games in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Fourth seed Saina defeated Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand 21-17, 21-10 in a 31-minute women's singles match, to set up a second round clash with Mingtian Fu of Singapore.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist P Kashyap also reached the second round after notching up a 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 victory over Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men's singles competition.
However, it was Jayaram who stole the limelight with a stunning 21-18, 21-19 triumph over Tien in a men's singles event that lasted 34 minutes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
While Jayaram will be up against Indonesian Simon Santoso tomorrow, Kashyap will next take on sixth seed Chinese Jin Chen. India's top mixed-doubles pair of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta too crossed the first hurdle, beating Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota 22-20, 21-15 in a 34-minute contest.
World Championship bronze medallist Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa also didn't break much sweat as they dispatched Chinese Taipei's Hsin Yun Chang and Chia Wen Lai 21-8, 21-17 in just 20 minutes. However, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas couldn't get past sixth seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and suffered a 13-21, 12-21 defeat in a match that lasted just 21 minutes.
World No. 5 Saina didn't give any chance to her Thai opponent as she broke off from 4-all to pocket the first game.
Inthanon tried to come back in the second game and went neck-and-neck till 7-7, before Saina claimed seven straight points to create a huge gap, which the Thai shuttler failed to bridge.
However, the match that left the Indian camp mesmerised was Jayaram's victory. In what turned out to be an even-knell contest, Jayaram and Tien fought tooth and nail for each and every point. — PTI