Almere (The Netherlands): Defending champion Ajay Jayaram today suffered a scare before prevailing over Netherlands' Mark Caljouw in the opening round of the Dutch Open Grand Prix here today.
The third seeded Indian recovered after losing the opening game to eke out a 19-21 21-17 21-18 win over Mark in a hard fought men's singles contest. Jayaram, who reached the finals of Korea Open Super Series to jump to World No. 25 spot, will next take on Germany's Fabian Roth.
Among other Indians, a fit-again RMV Gurusaidutt, seeded ninth, spanked Belgium's Maxime Moreels 21-8 21-9 in the opening round but Anand Pawar suffered a 10-21 15-21 loss to Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin of Malaysia.
Guru will meet Chinese Taipei's Chun-Wei Chen in the second round. Jayaram took time to get into the groove allowing Mark to a race away to 7-0 lead in the opening game. He bounced back with a six-point burst to narrow the gap and eventually caught up with the local player at 15-15.
However, Mark moved ahead and managed to earn the bragging rights early on. In the second game, Jayaram enjoyed a 5-0 lead initially but his opponent came back to level scores at 5-5. After a close contest, the Indian broke off at 9-9 and kept his nose ahead to bounce back.
In the decider, Jayaram zoomed ahead from 4-4 and never lost control to eventually seal the game in his favour. "It was a close opening match, not the best start but I'm happy to pull through. Looking forward to a more solid second round later," Jayaram said.