PSA Otters Open – Qualifying

 (1st Qualifying Rd): Vikram Malhotra (India) bt Brian Byrne (Irl) 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-8; Naresh Kumar (India) bt Parth Sharma (India) 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8; Sandeep Jangra (India) bt Supreet Singh (India) 3-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8; Harinder Pal Sandhu (India) bt Shakti Singh (India) 11-1, 10-12, 11-2, 7-11, 13-11; Vikas Jangra (India) bt  Yasin Amjad (Pak) 11-2, 11-4, 11-5.

Vikram Malhotra of India got the PSA Otters Open Squash Tournament 2006 to an explosive start when he rallied to overcome fancied Brian Byrne of Ireland 3-1 in a thrilling opening qualifying round, at the Otters Club, Bandra on a rainy Tuesday full of surprise verdicts.Malhotra didn’t allow the wet weather to dampen his spirits as he ignored the loss of the opening game to coast to a memorable 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-8 win over the world No. 245. The Indian lost a close opening game after keeping it tight at 8-all, but he came back brilliantly in the next to square the tie.

Malhotra had a crucial 10-8 lead in the third that allowed him to come up with a couple beautiful winners to snatch the game for a 2-1 lead. But his troubles were far from over, as Byrne played steady in the crucial fourth. Again Malhotra enjoyed a two-point lead late in the game before sealing the win with a nick.

“I knew Brian was a good player but I went into the match determined to win. I had nothing to lose. It’s not that he played badly. Instead he was fast and steady. I think the pep talk by my coach Cyrus Poncha inspired me after losing the opener. Also, my recent training in Chennai for the World Juniors that was held in New Zealand came in handy today. It was a good match to win. I hope I progress further,” said a delighted Malhotra after the match.

In other ties in the PSA Open that went all the way to the wire, Sandeep Jangra recovered from the loss of the first two games to surprise Otters lad Supreet Singh 3-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8, while Naresh Kumar rallied to beat Parth Sharma in similar fashion 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 and Harinder Pal Sandhu battled hard to beat Shakti Singh 11-1, 10-12, 11-2, 7-11, 13-11. In contrast, Vikas Jangra shunted out Yasin Amjad of Pakistan with an easy 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 win. 

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About Cyrus Poncha
I was born and lived in Bombay before moving to Chennai in 2001 to coach the Indian national squash team....what a journey its been!!

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