3-2 Harinderpal Singh Sandhu
11-7, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 14-12 (88m)
Pallikal 3-1 Joshna Chinappa
4-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8 (43m)
Dipika & Saurav clinch
Men’s top seed Saurav Ghosal earned a record 11th national
title, while women’s second seed Dipika Pallikal bagged her
second national crown, in the Otters Club 73rd Senior National
Ghosal, ranked No. 17 in the world, fashioned a 11-7, 7-11,
3-11, 11-8, 14-12 victory over 2014 champion and fourth seed
Harinderpal Singh Sandhu in a pulsating championship round that
lasted a marathon 88 minutes.
Second seed and world No. 19 Pallikal ignored an indifferent
start to overcome top seed and defending champion Joshna
Chinappa 4-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8 in a women’s championship round
that lasted 43 minutes.
In a high quality contest that could have gone either way,
Ghosal, who broke R.K. Narpat Singh’s record of 10 titles, once
again used his experience and vast repertoire of strokes at
crucial junctures to snatch vital points.
After winning the opening game, Ghosal fell behind when Sandhu
raced to a 2-1 advantage. But the defending champion recovered
brilliantly in the crucial fourth game by winning five points in
a row after trailing 6-7.
It was a humdinger in the decider in a fierce battle for
supremacy as the two reached 10-all after Sandhu saved three
match balls, until Ghosal snatched victory over extra points in
a gripping finish.
“There was very little to separate us,” explained Ghosal. “Both
played well right through the match. It is the hardest thing to
play Harinderpal. It was one of the most enjoyable and high
quality matches I’ve ever played.”
Chinappa, ranked No. 10 in the world, got off to a dream start
and was rewarded for willing to play the short balls and use the
sidewalls to good effect. She seized the opportunities that came
her way in the opening game with delightful shots from
everywhere to leave Pallikal stranded.
But Pallikal, who last won the national title in 2011, changed
the complexion of the game with impressive shots in the second
game to get back into the match. Chinappa, who lost to her
arch-rival in the $25,000 Granite Open in Toronto, Canada in
February 2015, turned defensive in the third set and let the
early advantage slip from her grasp.
Pallikal raced to a 7-2 lead in the crucial fourth game until
Chinappa closed in at 7-8 to raise hopes of a humdinger. But
Pallikal did not leave it for the decider and won three points
in a row to take the match away and deny Chinappa her 15th
“There was no solid game plan,” explained a delighted Pallikal.
“I just wanted to keep the ball in and win as many points as
possible. We’ve had many close battles on court in the past. We
are attacking players and both have similar games. This has been
a satisfying victory since it’s come after a long time. We now
look forward to defending the gold at the Commonwealth Games in
two years for which we have already started training.”
“I think I got too defensive in the second and third games,”
reasoned Chinappa. “Dipika stepped up the pressure and hit good
winners while I wasn’t playing the game I really wanted to play.
I was excited to play at the Otters Club and wanted to display a
Joshana, Dipika to clash in final,
Top seed and defending champion Joshana
Chinappa and second seed Dipika Pallikal lived up to
their reputations to set up an eagerly anticipated women’s
championship round clash, in the Otters Club 73rd Senior
National Squash Championship, on Saturday.
Chinappa, ranked No. 10 in the world, halted fourth seed
Akanksha Salunkhe of Goa with a 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 win. Aiming for
her 15th national crown, Chinappa moved Salunkhe around the
court and dominated the contest till the end, after ignoring an
indifferent start. “Akanksha played really well and she got
off to a good start,” explained Chinappa. “Some of her
shots were very impressive.”
World No. 19 Pallikal also took complete control in the other
semi-final and prevailed over third seed Sachika Ingale of UP
11-5, 11-1, 11-4. “I am delighted to be back for the
nationals,” said Pallikal. “It’s good to see quite a lot
of (women’s) players who are doing well. With Joshana and me at
the top for quite some time, we hope the others take the
pressure off us. We try to help them improve their games
whenever we get the opportunity.”
Fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu rallied from a 1-2
deficit to snatch a 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8 win over
second seed Mumbai lad Mahesh Mangaonkar in a gripping
men’s semi-final that went down to the wire and lasted a
marathon one hour and 35 minutes.
Like Mangaonkar, another Mumbai lad Vikram Malhotra also won
local hearts as he went down fighting to top seed and defending
champion Saurav Ghosal who relied on a vast repertoire of
strokes to escape to a 11-6, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 win in
another pulsating semi-final that lasted 65 minutes.
Trailing 3-5 in the crucial fourth, Sandhu won four points in a
row to lead 7-5 before forcing the decider to keep his hopes
alive in a fierce contest marked by long rallies and brute power
behind every shot.
It was a neck-and-neck battle with the scores tied at 8-8 in the
decider before Sandhu went up 9-8 with a stroke, reached match-ball
when Mangaonkar hit the tin and took it away with another
Women (Semi-finals): Joshana Chinappa (TN) bt Akanksha
Salunkhe (Goa) 11-6, 11-2, 11-4; Dipika Pallikal Karthik (TN) bt
Sachika Ingale (UP) 11-6, 11-1, 11-4.
Men (Semi-finals): Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Vikram Malhotra
(Mah) 11-6, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9; Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (TN)
bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (Mah) bt 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Malhotra storms into semis
Third seed Vikram Malhotra of Mumbai rallied from a 1-2 deficit
to snatch a thrilling win over Tamil Nadu’s Kush Kumar to storm
into the men’s semi-finals, in the Otters Club 73rd Senior
National Squash Championship, on Friday.
Malhotra, ranked 73 in the world, warmed up with a promising
start by winning the opening game in the best-of-five contest,
before Kumar came back to win the next two in one of the most
exciting matches of the day.
But Malhotra, a recent winner of the Malaysian Tour 2016 Leg I,
a $5K PSA world tour event in Malaka, the Florida State Open and
runner-up at the Samson Seattle Squash Open, another PSA Tour
event, snatched the crucial fourth in a tight finish before
holding on to a marginal lead in a close decider to set up a
clash with top seed and defending champion Saurav Ghosal.
Second seed Mahesh Mangaonkar, a winner of the PSA $15,000
Sekisui Open, a $15,000 PSA world tour event in Kriens,
Switzerland, will take on fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu
in the other semi-final.
Third seed Sachika Ingale of UP recovered from 0-2 to snatch the
decider over extra points in a thrilling women’s
pre-quarter-finals. Staring at defeat, Ingale relied on
experience to get back into the match by clinching the third and
fourth games to force the decider. In a contest that could have
gone either way, a determined Bhattacharya stretched her
accomplished opponent all the way in a neck-and-neck final game
before Ingale took it away, in the other absorbing match of the
Later, the top four advanced to the semi-finals as Ingale set up
a clash with second seed Dipika Pallikal, while top seed and
defending champion Joshana Chinappa faces fourth seed Akanksha
Salunkhe of Goa who came through a hard-fought 12-10, 11-9, 11-5
quarter-final win over Urwashi Joshi of JSW.
Results: Men (Quarter-finals): Saurav
Ghosal (TN) bt Vijay Kumar (TN) 11-8, 11-2, 11-6; Vikram
Malhotra (Mah) bt Kush Kumar (TN) 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7;
Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (TN) bt Ravi Dixit (TN) 11-6, 11-7,
11-3; Mahesh Mangaonkar (Mah) bt Velavan Senthilkumar (TN) 11-4,
Women (Quarter-finals): Joshana Chinappa (TN) bt Jui
Kalgutkar (Mah) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4; Akanksha Salunkhe (Goa) bt
Urwashi Joshi (Mah) 12-10, 11-9, 11-5; Sachika Ingale (UP) bt
Adya Advani (Del) 11-5, 11-4, 11-8; Dipika Pallikal Karthik (TN)
bt Lakshya Ragavendran (TN) 11-3, 11-4, 11-4.
Pre-quarter-finals: Joshana Chinappa (TN) bt Ananya Dabke 11-6,
11-3, 11-5; Jui Kalgutkar bt Jannat Duhan (Ch) 11-5, 11-0, 11-3;
Urwashi Joshi bt Mayuri Namasivayam (TN) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4;
Akanksha Salunkhe (Goa) bt Aishwarya Khubchandani 11-7, 11-5,
11-3; Sachika Ingale (UP) bt Aishwarya Bhattacharya 13-15, 9-11,
11-7, 11-0, 14-12; Adya Advani (Del) bt Aryaa Ogale 11-4, 11-6,
11-3; Lakshya Ragavendran (TN) bt Anannya Morey 11-2, 11-5,
11-7; Dipika Pallikal Karthik (TN) bt Avani Nagar 11-2, 11-1,
Nandrajog stretches Sandhu
Fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu was taken the distance by
qualifier Gaurav Nandrajog of Delhi before snatching an exciting
win in the men’s pre-quarter-final as the main draw got under
way, in the Otters Club 73rd Senior National Squash
Championship, on Thursday.
A gallant Nandrajog, runner-up in the 2006 nationals, came close
to fashioning the competition’s first significant upset before
Sandhu rallied to a hard-fought 11-3, 11-6, 8-11, 4-11, 11-1 win
to set up his next clash with state mate Ravi Dixit.
Sandhu battled hard for victory, the other favourites were led
into the quarter-finals by world No. 17 and defending champion
Saurav Ghosal who kicked off his campaign with an untroubled
11-3, 11-5, 11-8 win over qualifier Ranjit Singh of UP.
Women’s defending champion and top seed Joshana Chinappa and
second seed Dipika Pallikal Karthik also warmed up with fluent
first round wins. The other significant winners were third seed
Sachika Ingale of UP and fourth seed Akanksha Salunkhe of Goa.
Mumbai girls Ananya Dabke, Jui Kalgutkar, Urwashi Joshi,
Aishwarya Khubchandani, Aishwarya Bhattacharya, Aryaa Ogale and
Anannya Morey also eased into the second round.
Saurav Ghosal addresses the media at the press
Results: Women (2nd Rd):
Joshana Chinappa (TN) bt Machuma Begam Choudhury (Tr) 11-3,
11-0, 11-0; Ananya Dabke bt Sarah Vethekar 11-9, 11-2, 11-3; Jui
Kalgutkar bt Manisha G. (Br) 11-0, 11-0, 11-0; Urwashi Joshi bt
Anna Avasthi (Del) 11-5, 11-6, 11-5; Mayuri Namasivayam (TN) bt
Neha Kumari (Br) 11-1, 11-1, 11-0; Aishwarya Khubchandani bt
Manisha Bisht (Utk) 11-5, 11-2, 11-2; Akanksha Salunkhe (Goa) bt
Shikha Kumari (Br) 11-0, 11-3, 11-0; Sachika Ingale (UP) bt
Henna Muzafar (JK) 11-0, 11-3, 11-0; Aishwarya Bhattacharya bt
Sunidhi Pandey (Cg) 11-2, 11-2, 11-1; Aryaa Ogale bt K. Tamanna
(UP) 11-2, 11-2, 11-1; Adya Advani (Del) bt Sweta Budhia (Jhk)
11-0, 11-0, 11-1; Lakshya Ragavendran (TN) bt Sunny Mehta (Br)
11-0, 11-2, 11-3; Anannya Morey bt Sushmita Panigrahi (Goa)
11-7, 11-6, 11-8; Dipika Pallikal Karthik (TN) bt Nitu Sharma (JK)
11-0, 11-1, 11-0.
Men: Pre-quarter-finals: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Ranjit Singh (UP)
11-3, 11-5, 11-8; Vijay Kumar (TN) bt Veer Chotrani (Mah) 11-5,
11-2, 11-7; Vikram Malhotra (Mah) bt Sandeep Jangra (Del) 11-7,
11-3, 11-9; Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (TN) bt Gaurav Nandrajog
(Del) 11-3, 11-6, 8-11, 4-11, 11-1; Ravi Dixit (TN) bt Krish
Kapur (WB) 12-10, 11-6, 11-8; Velavan Senthilkumar (TN) bt
Aryaman Adik (Mah) 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5; Mahesh Mangaonkar (Mah)
bt Abhishek Pradhan (Mah) 11-3, 11-9, 11-5.
Final Qualifying Rd: Ranjit Singh (UP) bt Rishi Jalan (Del)
8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 12-14, 11-4; Veer Chotrani bt Maninderpal
Singh Sandh (Pun) 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8; Siddharth Suchde bt
Robin Singh Mann (Del) 11-2, 11-6, 11-3; Sandeep Jangra (Del) bt
Guhan Senthilkumar (TN) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3; Gaurav Nandrajog
(Del) bt Hiteshwar Singh Riar (Cg) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6; Krish Kapur
(WB) bt Ashish Keskar 11-4, 11-4, 11-8; Aryaman Adik bt Advait
Adik 11-5, 13-15, 11-7, 11-8; Abhishek Pradhan bt Adhitya
Raghavan (TN) 11-4, 11-9, 12-10.
All Plans Squashed