Viktor Axelsen takes on India's Ajay Jayaram in the Men's singles second round of 2017 Malaysia Superseries Premier badminton at the Jalan Stadium in Kuching on Thursday.
The fourth-seeded Danish shuttler made light work (21-12, 21-13) of Malaysia's Darren Liew in his opening round yesterday to set up a clash with Ajay, whom he defeated in the first round of India Open enroute to the top step of the podium last month. On the other hand, the unseeded Indian shuttler decimated last year's Korea Open winner Qiao Bin from China in straight games in his first-round outing.
Ajay is the only Indian remaining in the ongoing tournament after his Men's singles compatriot Sai Praneeth and top-ranked Women's singles shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal exited the tournament as early as in the first round yesterday. Despite not being able to be consistent at the highest level, the 29-year-old has tasted decent success against Axelsen, beating him twice in four BWF meetings.
Also, Ajay edged past the Dane in straight sets when the two met at India's Premier Badminton League earlier this year. However, Axelsen avenged the defeat by by demolishing the Indian in straight games (23-21, 21-18) in the India Open Superseries.
Given the recent form (first-round exits in India and at All England Championships), Ajay's chances of progressing in the tournament looks grim as takes on an in-form Axelsen, who will be brimming with confidence after the Dubai Superseries Finals winner broke his title drought earlier this week in India.
India: Star Sports 2
Malaysia: Astro Supersport
Singapore: StarHub Sports