Ritwik wins Indian challenger # 1

After losing to his national rival in two previous PSA Tour event finals on home soil in India, Ritwik Bhattacharya bravely fought back from two-games-to-one down to beat Indian compatriot Saurav Ghosal, the event favourite, to make it third time lucky in the climax of the inaugural Indian Challenger No1 an event supported by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports at the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai.

Bhattacharya had hit a rich vein of form recently – only two weeks ago reaching the semi-finals of the African Open in Nigeria after recording one his best wins of the year in the quarter-finals.

The second seed from Mumbai reached the final of the $15,000 PSA Tour event in Chennai after fending off unseeded fellow countryman Harinder Pal Sandhu in the semi-finals – 19-year-old Sandhu having made it through to the last four after two sensational upsets over seeded opponents.

Confident Ghosal seemed untroubled as he reached the final without dropping a game – and looked set to repeat his victories over Bhattacharya in the Otters Open final in Mumbai in July 2006 and the Chennai Open final three months ago.

But it was Bhattacharya’s day as the 29-year-old world No57 beat Ghosal, the world No39 from Chennai, 11-9, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10 in 65 minutes to record the eighth title of his career.

1st round:

[1] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Elvinn Keo (MAS) 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (29m)
[5] Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Kamran Khan (MAS) 11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7 (68m)
[3] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Choong Kam Hing (MAS) 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (49m)
[7] Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt [Q] Abdullah Almezayen (KUW) 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 (48m)
Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt [6] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)
[4] Dick Lau (HKG) bt Naresh Kumar (IND) 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)
[8] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) 11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10
[2] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (35m)

    Quarter-finals:
[1] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [5] Max Lee (HKG) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (34m)
[3] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [7] Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-4, 11-3, 6-11, 11-2 (55m)
Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt [4] Dick Lau (HKG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 (26m)
[2] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt [8] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (22m)

    Semi-finals:
[1] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [3] Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6
[2] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6

    Final:
[2] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt [1] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-9, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10 (65m)

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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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