PSA Otters Open – Final

Saurav Ghosal celebrates after winning Otters 2006Saurav Ghosal defeated Ritwik Bhattacharya to win his maiden PSA tournament in five close games 9-11 8-11 11-5 11-6 11-10 (2-0) in 75 min.
DNA Article : There were many things that went right the whole week for the inaugural $10,000 PSA Otters Open. And the final was, well the icing on the cake, attracting a full house that included inter alia Bollywood actor Aamir Khan along with his wife Kiran Rao.

The match was something more than a clash of the top two seeds. Ritwik Bhattacharya, the top seed, went into the title decider with an immaculate record of having never lost in six PSA finals. On the other hand, Saurav was playing in only his third PSA final having lost in the previous two. Moreover, the 20-year-old had never beaten Ritwik in a PSA event and was admittedly in awe of his 26-year-old compatriot, something which prevented from playing an aggressive game.The nervousness was apparent right from the word go. Saurav was tentative at the start and that translated to a few unforced errors, something of which Ritwik took due advantage of. Saurav’s sliced backhand, which had worked so well for him the whole week, became ineffective when it mattered the most. Ritwik, on the other hand, had found his touch, and held him in good stead.

Saurav was frustrated on certain points and this frustration hampered his concentration. Ritwik took full advantage of the same and won the opening two games 11-9 11-8. It looked a lost cause for the underdog.

However, quite surprisingly he started the third game strong, racing 5-0 ahead before Ritwik won a point — the first time in the match he had wrested the lead from his rival. Thereafter, the actual drama unfolded, something akin to the one in Aamir Khan’s Lagaan — only this time the actor had been relegated to the role of a spectator. Saurav started having problems with a few calls and down 5-9, Ritwik even gifted a point to the youngsters and subsequently lost the game 5-11.

The fourth game was evenly matched till Ritwik, down 4-7 at that time, had a nasty fall and had to be treated on the courtside. As blood streamed out of his hand, Ritwik required a bandage and was warned of a game penalty by the referee if his bandage fell off. He was conscious during the next few points. Saurav jumped on the opportunity to even the scores at two games apiece, winning the fourth 11-6.

The fifth game was the most dramatic of all. At 5-5, Saurav demanded a change of ball, something that didn’t please Ritwik. The referee, however, ruled in favour of the former and as they practiced with the new ball, the two players had a heated exchange. Play soon resumed and a contentious call ensured two match balls for the top seed, much to the dislike of Saurav and his fans. Saurav, who turned 20 on Thursday, however, regained composure to score a come-from-behind 3-2 win, winning the final game 11-10 (2-0).

“In the first two games I was playing well but my shots weren’t coming in. A couple of calls were dodgy and I think I went a little overboard,” admitted Saurav. “I hope this doesn’t affect my relationship with Ritwik as I value his friendship more than the title.” Ritwik, on the other hand, was upset after witnessing the end of his impressive streak. “I wanted to keep my record intact but I lost to an Indian. So it is all right,” he said.

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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!!

One Response to PSA Otters Open – Final

  1. Pingback: Mumbai Blog Digest - PSA Otters Open - Final

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