PSA Otters Open – First round

 [1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt [Q] Parthiban Ayappan (IND) 11-4, 11-4, 11-1
[Q] Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt [8] Ryan Thompson (NAM) 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (50m)
[4] M. Adnan (MAS) bt [Q] Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (75m)
[5] Darren Lewis (ENG) bt Neil Hitchens (ENG) 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-7
[Q] Shahril Shahidan (MAS) bt [6] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 10-11 (4-6), 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (62m)
[3] Timothy Arnold (MAS) bt Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (32m)
Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) bt [7] Friedrich Scheel (GER) 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (30m)
[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Nafzahizam Adnan (MAS) 11-7, 11-2, 11-3

Qualifiers Siddharth Suchde and Shahril Shahidan shook up the seedings in the Otters Open Squash Championship on the opening day of main draw action in the new PSA Tour event at Otters Club. Mumbai-born Suchde, currently a Harvard University student in the USA, set the ball rolling when he shocked eighth seed Ryan Thompson, of Namibia, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2. In an exciting first round match that lasted 50 minutes, the Indian lost a close opening game in which he struggled to find his rhythm. But he warmed up in the next while enduring a strong challenge from Thompson, ultimately going on to fashion a famous win. “I was apprehensive since I was playing my first PSA tournament on home soil this year,” explained 21-year-old Suchde. “I got off to a bad start where I was defensive in the opening game. But I soon found my touch in the second game.”

Suchde now faces top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya in an all-Indian clash for a place in the semi-finals. In a match that stretched to 62 minutes, Malaysian Shahril Shahidan endured a tough opening game which took 24 minutes, before he clinched a shock 10-11 (4-6), 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 win over sixth seed Arthur Gaskin, of Ireland. The 21-year-old from Kuala Lumpur now also goes on to face a fellow countryman when he meets third seed Timothy Arnold in the quarter-finals.

There was further Indian joy when unseeded Gaurav Nandrajog demolished seventh seed Friedrich Scheel of Germany 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 in just 30 minutes to claim an unexpected place in the last eight. The 21-year-old from New Delhi will now take on compatriot Saurav Ghosal, the No2 seed who celebrated his 20th birthday in appropriate style by beating Malaysia’s Nafzahizam Adnan 11-7, 11-2, 11-3.

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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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