Otters Open -Day3

The Union Jack was flying high as Mandy Kennedy of England was the unlikely toast of the day when she shocked women’s top seed and India No. 4, 17-year-old Surbhi Misra of Rajasthan 3-0 to set the ball rolling for another day of upsets, in the Otters Open, concurrently being held with the PSA Open.

At 38, Mandy is a mother of two, but there was no sign of the aging aunt while demolishing an opponent less than half her age 9-1, 9-6, 9-7 to storm into the semi-finals. “I love playing squash. My husband is here in Mumbai on a transfer and he informed me of the Otters Open. I was delighted to enter a competition and this win is a huge bonus,” revealed an excited Mandy. Mandy’s stunning effort overshadowed unseeded Rishad Pandole’s upset 10-8, 9-4, 9-6 win over second seed Manish Chotrani in a tight Men’s Open contest to reach the semi-finals.

Pandole, who comes from the first family of squash in India, is a regular on the local circuit but always the poor cousin amongst the elite. Today, he was Man Friday as he changed the script to score a famous win, made sweeter by beating a former national champion and a much accomplished opponent.

“It was a hard match where the close opening game was critical,” explained an excited Pandole, who added, the verdict was yet to sink in. “Anybody who won the first game would always have the psychological edge. I was volleying a lot and cut out the mistakes to play error-free squash. My shots deep were working well and caused Manish a lot of problems. He either struggled to get to them or created openings for me.”

Added Pandole: “I used to play him in the under-19, before he established himself. It’s the first time I’m playing him in a formal match at this level. Manish was slow getting to the front. The match was a lot closer than the scores suggest. But it was exciting to beat the number two seed.”

Parth Sharma of Chennai is on a roll. After beating Sandeep Jangra 3-0 in the Men’s Open late Thursday night, No. 5 seed Sharma returned to upset fourth seed Manek Mathur 9-3, 9-2, 9-3 to enter the boys’ under-19 semi-finals.

In a close boys’ under-17 contest, No. 2 seed Laxman Joshi of Maharashtra endured a strong challenge and was taken the distance before overcoming seventh seed Ravi Dixit of Chennai 3-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-1, 9-6 in a thrilling quarter-final tie.

Otters Open (QF): Boys: U-19: Sandeep Jangra bt Cyril Kuhn (Chennai) 9-1, 9-6, 9-7; Parth Sharma (Chennai) bt Manek Mathur 9-3, 9-2, 9-3;

Naresh Kumar (Chennai) bt Cyrus Vakil 9-4, 10-8, 9-6; Vikram Malhotra bt Paramjeet Singh (Chennai) 9-0, 9-4, 9-0.

Boys: U-17: Girish Sawlani (Chennai) bt Prithvi Aditiya (Chennai) 9-7, 9-3, 9-1; Laxman Joshi bt Ravi Dixit (Chennai) 3-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-1, 9-6; Vikram
Malhotra bt Aditya Jagtap 9-5, 9-5, 9-7; Cyril Kuhn (Chennai) bt Paramjeet Singh (Chennai) 9-2, 9-7, 9-5.

Boys: U-15: Ravi Dixit (Chennai) bt Caran Arora 9-4, 9-0, 9-2; Aditya Jagtap bt Karan Tharyamal (Raj) 9-5, 9-2, 9-1; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Aadit Zaveri 9-2, 9-3, 9-4; Karm Kumar (Del) bt Abhishek Pradhan 10-8, 9-1, 9-2.

Boys: U-13: Akash Borwankar bt Rohan Vora 9-7, 7-9, 9-1, 9-2; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Kush Kumar 9-1, 9-4, 9-4; Karan Tharyamal (Raj) bt Caran Arora 1-9, 9-2, 9-5, 9-5; Abhishek Pradhan bt Deepak Mishra 6-9, 9-3, 9-1, 9-0.

Boys: U-11: Kunj Rawani bt Armaan Kothari 9-0, 9-1, 9-2; Kush Kumar bt Yohan Pandole 9-1, 9-1, 9-2; Arjun Kochhar bt Raghav Malhotra 9-4, 2-9, 5-9, 9-4, 10-9.

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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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