India’s Ajay Jayaram and Mugdha Agrey got off to winning starts in the India International Challenge badminton tournament at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Thursday.

Ajay and Agrey, seeded second in their respective singles categories, reached the round of 16 in contrasting styles.

Agrey advanced with a straight-games victory against qualifier Samiya Farooqui. The 20-year-old, who holds a world ranking of 59 in women’s singles, took 32 minutes to register a 21-12, 21-18 win. She will now face Benyapa Aimsaard of Thailand in the second round.

Ajay, though, was tested in his opening round match against American qualifier Ye Binghong. He took the first game with ease, dropped the second and was nearly knocked out before eventually prevailing 21-10, 15-21, 21-19 in 52 minutes.

The 32-year-old Indian, ranked 81 in the world in men’s singles, admitted after the match that he was a little rusty.

“I’m not too happy with the way I played today, it was too patchy,” said Ajay. “I had good phases but I wasn’t able to be consistent enough. But I’m happy that I pulled through.”

It had seemed like Ajay would sail through in straight games after he breezed past the first. But a string of errors by him combined with some inspired play by Binghong saw the match head to a decider.

“I got a bit hasty, tried too much when I could’ve been a little more patient,” he said. “Of course, he did well too. He increased the pace which caught me by surprise. But I’m happy I stuck in there during the crucial points.”

Ajay will now face Malaysia’s Lim Ching King in the round of 16 on Friday.

Among the other Indian in fray, Trisha Hegde registered an impressive victory against compatriot and fifth seed Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka in women’s singles first round. The 17-year-old Hegde held her nerves to win 21-17, 13-21, 22-20 in 57 minutes. She will be up against Thailand’s Nuntakarn Aimsaard in the second round.

In men’s singles, Kartikey Gulshan Kumar knocked out fourth seed Tan Jia Wei from Malaysia. The 19-year-old Indian triumphed 22-20, 21-15 and will face compatriot Chirag Sen next.

There was heartbreak for Gayatri Pullela Gopichand, though, as she conceded her opening round match against top seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk after just one point due to an elbow injury.

Siril Verma, seeded sixth, suffered a loss as well as he went down 15-21, 19-21 in 40 minutes to Kantawat Leelavechabutr of Thailand.