Hindu: National squash Day3

Two keen rivals, Harinder Pal Singh and Parth Sharma – both ICL Academy trainees – took the centrestage on Thursday to liven up proceedings with a close quarterfinal contest in the ICL-National squash championship here.Sadly, the final and decisive point of the match that went in favour of Harinder came in a tame and unexpected manner with Parth limping after an attack of cramps in his left knee. In fact, when the score read 8-7 in the fourth game in a ‘match ball’ situation for Harinder, Parth sank to the floor clutching his leg after failing to return a low ball. He got the stipulated three-minute time-out to get relief though it was too brief for a recovery. But for that episode it was anybody’s match, such was the way the two battled it out. Rallies, long shots and consistency at the forecourt – the encounter had everything as the two matched wits. Added to that was the way the two went for the returns – stretching and lunging at everything – and dug deep on their last reserve of energies in this 71-minute riveting show. It has been the day’s form that has separated the two more often than not. In recent times, Parth, the National under-19 champion, had lost to Harinder once in a PSA tournament. Still, there appeared a flicker of hope for Parth this time considering the way he clawed back from 4-8 in the second game after bagging the first to level the score.

However, Harinder settled the issue with two brilliant cross-court swishes. There was deftness in his drop shots and the way he kept varying the length, Parth had Harinder in a tight spot quite often. However, the latter, the younger of the two, found a way to wriggle out.

Earlier, top seed and defending champion Saurav Ghosal demolished Supreet Singh of Maharashtra with a fine display. Deep lobs, cross-court drives and masterly drop shots flowed from Ghosal’s racket to leave Supreet dazed.
Ghosal’s domination. Such was Ghosal’s domination that when Supreet won his first point in the third game, the latter could not hide his happiness over the achievement!

Equally good was the lanky Sidharth Suchde’s effort against the local boy Parthiban. Known for his resilience, Parthiban found himself repeatedly beaten by Suche’s pace and variation.

In the women’s section, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal – the top two seeds – are clearly in a different league. They have recorded facile wins and are still to face a challenge. Anwesha Reddy impressed during her win over Komal Sharma and did not concede a single point. However, Harita Omprakash, another promising youngster, failed to make any impression on Surbhi Misra of Rajasthan and went down without a fight.


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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