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Kolkata International 2015
22-27 Sep, Kolkata, India, $35k

27-Sep, Final:

[3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-0 [1] Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
                     11/7, 11/2, 11/7 (43m)

Ghosal grabs home win in Kolkata
Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

The crowd was a one-sided beast today, as hometown hero Saurav Ghosal played the final of the Kolkata International against top seeded Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy.

Ghosal was on fire from the first serve, setting a punishing pace that had the bigger player scrambling to keep up. Ghosal was aided by a couple of strokes in the first game, and spent the next two keeping Elshorbagy from getting in his shots.

It was a vicious circle. As Elshorbagy grew more frustrated, his game saw more errors, and while he gave Ghosal some trouble with his lengths, couldn't manage to get a rhythm going against the local favourite.

So Ghosal took home his first 35k tournament win on home turf to uproarious applause, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 in 43 minutes.

Kolkata International 2015
22-27 Sep, Kolkata, India, $35k
Round One
24 Sep
25 Sep
26 Sep
27 Sep
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
14/12, 7/11, 11/4, 11/7 (37m)
[Q] Sanjay Singh (Mas)
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy
7/11, 11/8, 11/2, 8/11, 11/7 (58m)
Rex Hedrick
[1] Marwan Elshorbagy

11/5, 11/6, 11/13, 11/6 (55m)

[4] Chris Simpson

[1] Marwan Elshorbagy


11/7, 11/2, 11/7 (43m)


[3] Saurav Ghosal

[6] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/6, 11/5, 11/6 (28n)
Rex Hedrick (Aus)
[8] Greg Lobban (Sco)
9/11, 11/7, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5 (55m)
[Q] Ammar Altamimi (Kuw)
[8] Greg Lobban
11/2, 11/7, 12/10 (51m)
[4] Chris Simpson
[4] Chris Simpson (Eng)
11/5, 15/13, 11/7 (61m)
[wc] Ramit Tandon (Ind)
[Q] Nathan Lake (Eng)
11/9, 11/3, 11/5 (47m)
[3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[3] Saurav Ghosal
11/7, 11/3, 11/7 (35m)
[7] Mahesh Mangaonkar
[3] Saurav Ghosal

11/4, 11/4, 11/2 (45m)

[2] Steve Coppinger

Harinderpal Sandhu (Ind)
6/11, 11/7, 9/11, 11/6, 11/6 (75m)
[7] Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
[Q] Kush Kumar (Ind)
11/9, 11/8, 11/4 (38m)
[5] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
[5] Zahed Mohamed
14/12, 11/5, 11/7 (65m)
[2] Steve Coppinger
Ivan Yuen (Mas)
11/3, 11/9, 9/4 rtd (36m)
[2] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
23-Sep, Qualifying Finals:

Kush Kumar (Ind) 3-0 Ahmad Alsaraj (Jor)                         15/13, 2/1 rtd (24m)
Nathan Lake (Eng) 3-0 Edmon Lopez Moller (Esp)           12/10, 11/6, 11/5 (46m)
Sanjay Singh (Mas) 3-1 Ravi Dixit (Ind)                11/5, 11/4, 10/12, 11/2 (38m)
Ammar Altamimi (Kuw) 3-0 Robert Downer (Eng)           11/7, 14/12, 11/9 (46m)

22 Sep, Qualifying Round One: 

Ahmad Alsaraj (Jor) 3-1 Abhinav Sinha (Ind)          11/8, 11/7, 12/14, 11/6 (37m)
Kush Kumar (Ind) 3-0 Krish Kapur (Ind)                           11/6, 11/5, 11/7 (23m)
Edmon Lopez Moller (Esp) 3-1 Vijay Kumar (Ind)      11/8, 9/11, 11/7, 11/3 (46m)
Nathan Lake (Eng) 3-0 Ranvijay Singh (Ind)                     11/7, 11/2, 11/0 (19m)
Sanjay Singh (Mas) 3-0 Velavan Senthilkumar (Ind)         11/6, 11/5, 11/3 (20m)
Ravi Dixit (Ind) 3-1 Jean-Pierre Brits (Rsa)              11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/6 (49m)
Robert Downer (Eng) 3-1 Christo Potgieter (Rsa)    5/11, 11/4, 11/8, 12/10 (47m)
Ammar Altamimi (Kuw) 3-0 Vikram Malhotra (Ind)          12/10, 11/6, 11/7 (26m)
Ghosal to face top seed Shorbagy
in Kolkata final
Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

Top seed through to final

It was a hot evening as the Calcutta Racket Club filled with fans to watch the semifinal between top-seed Marwan Elshorbagy and Chris Simpson.

Whether the heat bothered Simpson, whose game was unusually dogged by errors throughout, is anyone’s guess. But as the sun went down and the venue cooled, his play did not improve. Elshorbagy dominated the first two games, staying in front of the Englishman and sending the ball long and just out of reach time and again.

Simpson’s best chance came in the third game, when he stole two match points from Elshorbagy and went on to take the game through sheer grit and hustle. It wasn’t until the fourth game that Simpson started to get in the shots he’d been waiting to play all evening.

But it was too little too late, and Elshorbagy took the match 11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 in 55 minutes to enter the final of the Kolkata International.

Coppinger chopped by Ghosal

Saurav Ghosal, playing on home turf at the Calcutta Racket Club, came to win tonight. The speedy Indian kept up a fast and furious pace that tired Stephen Coppinger from the first serve. Ghosal played a beautifully error-free game, while Coppinger struggled with the tin.

Coppinger, glued to the T throughout, seemed to wake up to his last chance in the third game and, taking two match points off Ghosal, seemed poised for a comeback. But he couldn't keep up the play and Ghosal took the match 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 in 45 minutes to enter the Kolkata International final.

"Saurav was just too good today," Coppinger said. "I just couldn't make any headway today. He was good and he was good for the whole match."

"I know Cops is playing really well," Ghosal said. "He hadn't dropped a game yet in this tournament. He was cutting every ball off and setting a high pace. So I had to be really precise and keep the ball off his racket as much as possible. Happily, for me, I executed the plan all right. The scores don't suggest how hard the match was."



Top seeds through as
Ghosal keeps home hopes alive

The latest Indian Squash Circuit event  continues in Kolkata with the quarter-finals of the $35k event ...

Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

Saurav wins all-Indian matchup

Saurav Ghosal had Mahesh Mangaonkar's number from the start, today. The tournament's No. 3 seed controlled play from the start, keeping the pace up and deploying shots with deadly accuracy to win 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 in 35 minutes.

Simpson through to semis

Today's match between Chris Simpson and Greg Lobban was a master class in basics. The players exchanged some long, lovely rallies, but Simpson staked his claim to the T early and was always in control, winning 11-2, 11-5, 12-10 in 51 minutes.

"I was quite surprised by how well i played in the first game especially," Simpson said. "I felt like I was the one controlling the pace. I always felt slightly ahead in the rallies, and that eventually wore him out toward the end. I'm very happy to be done in three."

"It was tough," Lobban said. "Chris dominated the court for the majority of the match. No matter how hard I tried, he found a way to stay in the middle. I ran out of gas quicker than I usually do because he was dominating the middle."

Coppinger carries match against Mohamed

It was a long, tight match between Stephen Coppinger and Zahed Mohamed, but after the first game, it was only ever going to go Coppinger's way. Mohamed had his best chance up in the first game, but lost two game balls before Coppinger took it 14-12. Mohamed racked up a quick lead in the second, 5-2, but couldn't keep it, and Coppinger ran away from there, taking the match 14-12, 11-5, 11-7 in 65 minutes.

"Any win is a good win at this stage," Coppinger said. "He beat me the last time we played, so I knew what to expect. He was really tough, right from the start all the way through. The first game was crucial. He had a few game balls. I was really lucky to come back in that one."

24-Sep, Round One
Indian semi-finalist guaranteed in Kolkata

The latest Indian Squash Circuit event  continues in Kolkata with round one of the $35k event ...

Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

Ghosal speeds into quarterfinal

Nathan Lake gave Saurav Ghosal a bit of trouble in the first game. But by the second, the second-seed had Lake's measure and put the pressure on with his signature speed. From there, Ghosal owned the match, taking it 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 in 47 minutes.

"I've not played him ever before," Ghosal said. "I had a little bit of trouble to see what his game was all about. He played some really good stuff at the beginning of the match. After the first game, I was more in control. It's good to win 3-0. Hopefully I'll play better tomorrow and as the tournament goes on."

"It was great to get on court with a player of his caliber," Lake said. "I had a clear game plan, which I felt I got to play. But with his speed he really got onto me and made me work hard. There's a reason he's highly ranked."

Mangaonkar wins all-Indian face-off

Matches between countrymen can make for some of the most intense squash spectators will ever see, perhaps because there are more intangible things -- pride, for instance, or glory -- riding on the outcome.

The match between Mahesh Mangaonkar, India's No. 2 on its gold-medal winning 2014 Asian Games team, and Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, India's 2014 National Champion and Asian Games gold medalist, was certainly the most dynamic of the night, as well as the longest, unfolding across five games in 75 minutes. Both players sent the other scrambling across the court on more than one occasion, both played beautiful long games, both had some fantastic pick-ups and flashes of brilliant shotmaking.

But in the end, Mangaonkar stayed a bit steadier, building a solid lead in the fifth that Sandhu just couldn't chip away. Mangaonkar won 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 75 minutes.

Simpson runs his way to a win against Tandon

Sometimes a wildcard lives up to the name. Such was the case today, when the World No. 256 sent the World No. 22 all over the court with his unpredictable play. Where Ramit Tandon's next shot would land was anyone's guess, and Chris Simpson's pick-ups seemed to be played on a hunch. Most of the time, the hunch played off, but Tandon's shots got past Simpson often enough to make it a close match and keep the crowd cheering loudly for the local lad. Yet Simpson's speed and singularly error-free play carried the day, particularly as Tandon lost steam in the third game. Simpson won 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 in 61 minutes.

"It was really, really tough," Simpson said. "He's got quite outstanding racket work. It made me feel very nervous because I never knew what shot I was going to play. To be honest, I felt like I was running all over, while he stayed on the T. But I played the big points well in the first and second games, and that was crucial."

Kumar loses in first round

Kush Kumar had a strong start today against Zahed Mohamed, racking up a quick lead 5-1, then 8-5 thanks to a string of unforced errors by Mohamed. But the Egyptian quickly changed tactics, and at 9-6 the game and match was up for Kumar. Mohamed quickly made up points, taking the first game 11-9, and continued to dominate to win 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 in 38 minutes.

"I knew he's a good player," Mohamed said. "I won, but it was a good match. I had to be focused. In the first game at 9-6 down, I told myself, 'start now.' The second game, I played the basics also and won. The court is tight and difficult for me. But I'm happy with my performance and looking forward to tomorrow."

Hedrick keeps Tuominen off-kilter

Rex Hedrick took his match against Olli Tuominen in three straight sets, his longer shots controlling the play over Tuominen's shorter strategy. Still, there's a reason Tuominen is still a threat on the tour after nearly 20 years. He had a couple of neat counterdrops in the first game that gave Hedrick some trouble, and the second game saw Tuominen make an effort to adapt with longer shotmaking. But Hedrick always seemed to keep him off-rhythm, catching a string of points in the third off Tuominen's unforced errors, before taking the match 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 in 28 minutes. For full match stats and analysis, click here.

"It went well," Hedrick said. "Olli has been struggling a little bit with a calf injury. I just played the best I could, and it seemed to work. He was quite attacking, but I controlled the match to keep on top."

"I wasn't good enough today," Tuominen said. "Rex was playing very accurate squash, and the pace was too hard for me today. I couldn't move well enough. I played too many mistakes as well. It was not the best day for me. My calf didn't hurt at all actually, but I guess I was a bit scared of it. But the season is still quite young. I will try to keep it that way for future tournaments."

Lobban takes Altamimi in five

Ammar Altamimi made a good showing in his first 35k Main Draw, but couldn't quite close the deal. Altamimi and his opponent, Greg Lobban, both played tight games with few errors and fantastic pick-ups, each taking two games off the other. But Lobban racked up a quick lead in the fifth at 6-1, then 9-4, and an obviously tired Altamimi didn't have it in him to claw back the points, sending the game to Lobban 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5 in 55 minutes.

"It was close," Lobban said. "I got off to a slow start. I had to find a way to turn it on my side. I played a bit more straight in the second half of the second game; things weren't going my way, so I had to go to plan B."
23-Sep, Qualifying Finals
Kush adds Indian interest in Kolkata

The latest Indian Squash Circuit event  continues in Kolkata with the qualifying finals of the $35k event which saw Kush Kumar increase the home count in the main draw to four.

Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

Kumar first to join Main Draw

It's always a shame when a dynamite match gets cut short. So it was today in the second qualifying round match between two stellar up-and-comers Kush Kumar and Ahmad Al-Saraj.

It was a neck-and-neck first game, with tight play and some superb shotmaking by both, and Kumar just edged out the win in extra points. The second game promised to be as interesting, but at 2-1, what looked like pain in his side got the best of Al-Saraj, and he reterd injured, ceding the match to Kumar 15-13, 2-1 in 24 minutes.

Lake dominates Moller

The first game between Nathan Lake and Edmon Lopez Moller promised more than it delivered for the rest of the match.

Lake always had the edge, but Moller pushed the game into extra points with some shots that moved Lake out of the middle. But from the second game on, Lake handily controlled the play, winning the match 12-10. 11-6, 11-5 in 46 minutes.

Dixit nabs  agame, but loses match

Sanjay Singh Chal  dominated the first two games against Ravi Dixit. Singh came with a plan, and it worked, until Dixit mixed up his game in the third, taking it in extra points. But it wasn't enough.

The fourth game saw Singh back on top, racking up a quick 10-1 lead with some tight play. Dixit kept his cool and stole a match point from Singh, but couldn't get any momentum and the match went to Singh 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-2 in 38 minutes.

Altamimi takes long match against Downer

Ammar Altamimi and Robert Downer went head to head today, each with a straightforward attacking game that delivered a long and interesting match for spectators.

Unforced errors plagued Downer throughout and in the end that, combined with some more varied shotmaking by Altamimi, is what made the difference. Altamimi won 11-7, 14-12, 11-9 in 46 minutes.

22-Sep, Qualifying Round One:
Dixit and Kumar reach qualifying finals

The latest Indian Squash Circiit event got uinder way in Kolkata with two Indians making it through to the qualifying finals of the $35k event.

Match reports by Raj Tancara, Photos by Nitesh Square

Dixit locks horns with South Africa's Brits, wins

Jean-Pierre Brits opened strongly with some precise dropping. Ravi Dixit  then arrested the flow of points to respond with some delectable front court play often wrong footing Brits. It didn't take Dixit very long to open up a two game lead. Brits seemed set for an early evening when the door opened just a bit. Brits responded by raising his game and pulled one back at 11-8. They traded blows in the fourth till 6-6 before Dixit pulled away for a creditable 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 win in 49 minutes.

Malhotra gives Altamimi a good game, but not enough

Vikram Malhotra came out all guns blazing and perhaps caught the solid Ammar Altamimi off guard with his unconventional stroke play. At 10-7 the Indian, who is now based at Trinity University in the US, looked good before Altamimi clawed back with the help of a stroke to win five straight points to take the opener 12-10. Vikram continued his attacking game in the second but the solidity of Altamimi forced the errors. At 4-4 Malhotra played some delightful shots but negated those with more errors, and soon, Altamimi was firmly in the saddle.

The third saw Altamimi off to a flyer, a 6-0 lead before Malhotra worked hard to close to 5-7 and 6-8 showing more restraint finally. A stroke pulled Malhotra to 7-8, but he followed that by gifting one for 9-7. A trickle boast brought up match ball and one that was millimetres from the wall completed a solid 3-0 win for Altamimi,12-10, 11-6, 11-7 in 26 minutes.

Kumar breezes past talented Indian junior Kapur

Kush Kumar fresh from his fine showing in Mumbai last week breezed past the lone Rackets Club junior in the draw, Krish Kapur, running out an effortless 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 in 23 minutes. It was a useful learning experience for Krish who is amongst the country's better junior players.

Sanjay Singh enters second round

Sanjay Singh from Malaysia barely raised a sweat as he convincingly snuffed out the aspirations of the talented Indian southpaw Velavan Senthilkumar from Chennai. Singh had his younger opponent on a leash through the match dictating play before running out a 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 winner in 20 minutes.

Lake takes match against a labouring Ranvijay Singh

Nathan Lake was a man in a hurry against another Indian southpaw – Ranvijay Singh. Singh, recovering from dengue had no answers to Lake who made short work of this contest, racing to a 11-7, 11-2, 11-0 win in 19 minutes.

Close contest between Moller and Kumar

A close contest to start with as Edmon Lopez Moller and Vijay Kumar pushed hard to take control early. 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 8-8 before Moller played some exquisite drops to clinch the opener in eleven minutes. A more resolute Kumar took a 3-0 lead in the second, the length was perceptibly better as he moved to 4-1 before Moller pegged back to 3-4. Some more accurate play from Kumar had him at 7-3. Moller looked composed and a tad fitter as he reeled of five straight points to grab the lead. Kumar wasn't done and played consistently to pull the match level winning the second at 11-9 with the clock at 24 minutes.

It was all Kumar at the start of the crucial third game as he worked his more experienced opponent round the court to lead 4-0. They repeatedly tested each other with drops to the forecourt on the backhand side and Moller was winning most of those as he levelled the third at 6-6. With the game getting longer the marginally better physicality of Moller was weighing in as he was winning all the longer exchanges. Kumar battled on gamely but Moller was doing just that little bit extra and a few unforced errors gave the Spaniard the 2-1 lead.

Another eleven minute game had taken its toll. Kumar had his chances. Now it was Moller in command as he rushed through the fourth to win 11-3. A fine performance by the Indian but the Spaniard's superior fitness won the day, taking the match 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 in 46 minutes.
2011 Event
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