Badminton: Jason Teh loses in India International opener after plucky fight
Jason Teh, Singapore's sole shuttler at the Syed Modi India International, showed glimpses of his potential but was edged out by India's 145th-ranked Kaushal Dharmamer 14-21, 21-11, 21-16, at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday (Jan 19).
The 23-year-old had missed out on last week's India Open in New Delhi as he was still recovering from a knee injury. But as Singapore's India Open contingent was recalled home after Yeo Jia Min and a coach contracted Covid-19, Teh, who had not mingled with the group, persisted as he wanted more competition experience.
The world No. 99 got off to a good start in the first frame against Dharmamer with a series of aggressive play and ferocious smashes, only to meet with stiff resistance afterwards.
They were neck and neck in the decider, which saw Teh require a few medical breaks to attend to his right hand, after his finger nail had peeled off.
Only one point separated the duo at the interval, but Dharmamer then raced to a 16-12 lead. Teh closed the gap to 18-16, but his southpaw opponent took the next three points and the win.
Teh said: "I tried my best to perform today but things just didn't go in my way. I was too rushed in the last two games and made too many unforced errors. I was mentally affected because of some factors, and I will need to be more mature in the future to deal with such situations."
National singles coach Kelvin Ho felt that while Teh showcased his good skills and strokes to make Dharmamer uncomfortable in the first game, he still needs to work on raising the intensity levels.
He said: "Jason made quite a few unforced errors in the front court today. Generally, he has more shot variation now but needs to improve on his shot pressure so opponents won't get used to his momentum.
"We are targeting Jason to get more ranking points so he would be able to play in higher-tier tournaments in the coming months, have more exposure, and be ready for make a challenge to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics."
The National Open Championships 2020 winner will be striving for better results as he is entered for next week's Odisha Open and also the Feb 15-20 Badminton Asia Team Championships. Teh is also expected to play a part in this year's SEA Games and Commonwealth Games.
He added: "I hope to achieve stable results at international tournaments to get my ranking up. I hope to break into the world's top 40 or even 30 this year, improve on my independence and consistency on court."