Mumbai : Jaidev Menon was the toast of the opening day when he won back-to-back matches to storm into the boys’ under-17 quarter-finals, in the CCI Greater Mumbai District Badminton Championship, at the Cricket Club of India on Wednesday.
Kicking off a busy day, Menon, the boys under-15 top seed, first overcame Chinmay Kulkarni 15-2, 15-3 in the second round before halting Rajas Bhagwat 21-8, 21-9 in the pre-quarter-finals.
Menon’s day was far from over when minutes later he faced top seed Viplav Kuvale in the boys’ under-19 second round and gave the favourite an early scare before going down 14-21, 21-18, 19-21 in a 40 minute thriller.
After dropping the opening game in the most absorbing contest of the day, the lean Menon turned mean when he ignored his opponent’s reputation. He fought back gallantly to snatch a tight second game after forcing a bewildered Kuvale into a slew of errors to enjoy an envious 17-11 lead.
Menon, of St. Joseph’s School, Wadala ran a rattled Kuvale close in the decider as well, trailing 8-9, and later 16-17 with a delightful drop that was the shot of the day. Menon went on to draw level at 19-all to raise hopes of the biggest upset in the competition, until Kuwale fired two winners to take the match away.
“I enjoyed a beautiful day of badminton,” explained a delighted Menon, who trains at CCI under former international Hufrish Nariman. “I was under no pressure against Viplav. I was enjoying myself and just played rallies. I had hoped he would tire out by the final game and it almost worked my way.”