PSA #4 & WISPA #2 (5-10 October 2010)

Winning the PSA and WISPA titles for the first time in  last month’s  events, Indian players are geared up and raring to go for honours in the PSA Indian Challenger No: 4 and WISPA Indian Challenger No:2 commencing  in Chennai at the Indian Squash Academy from Oct  5  to 10, 2009.  This event is supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport in preparation for the Commonwealth Games 2010.  

 Compared to the events held from September 7 to 12, 2009, the coming events are higher rated and the winners will accrue more ranking points and prize money.

 Going by the present scenario, especially during this year, Indians have generally risen to higher levels both in their rankings and standard of play bringing credit to the Indian Squash Academy  in Chennai . The Squash Rackets Federation of India has decided to hold two more PSA and WISPA events in the next two months.  These championships starting from the ones that were held here during this year has helped the Indian players to get vital ranking points in their respective sections.

In keeping with this goal of providing opportunity for the up and coming Indian stars, the SRFI is well  on course towards achieving its goal. 

The field in both PSA and WISPA are strong and cream of middle level players in the world would be seen in action besides some of the Indian juniors, who made their debut in last month events.

Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Anaka Alankamony won the titles in PSA and WISPA events last month. Anaka also created history not only winning her maiden title but became the youngest player ever to win a WISPA title.

In the WISPA qualifying event to be held on October 6, 2009, Anaka, Aparajitha Balamurukan and Zephanie Curgenven of England have been given a bye, while India’s Shria Khatri and Harita Omprakash will fight for the fourth slot in to the main draw.

As for the Indian interest in the coming events, Siddharth Suchde withdrawing from the event due to injury has left Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu a lone Indian as a wild card in the main draw of the coming  USD 10,000 event, while second seed Joshana Chinappa and sixth seed Dipika Pallikal will be keeping the Indian flag flying high in the WISPA event, which offers a prize fund of USD 8,000. 

Top seed, Sharon Wee (world ranked 29) leads the pack of three Malaysian seeds in the main draw and Orla Noom (seed-3 ranked 43) of the Netherlands, Elise Ng (Hong Kong-seed 4-rank 46) are some of the prominent stars to vie for honours.  

The draws for the coming events has thrown up stiffer competitions. Chinappa ranked 35 in the world and Pallikal (54) drawn in the bottom half would be meeting each other in the semi finals, if they win their first two matches.  If these two Indians play to their potentials one of them could be in the finals. 

In the first round, Chinappa plays unseeded Coline Aumard of France and Pallikal take on Jenna Gates of England in their first round matches. Chinappa’s career graph this season has been fluctuating but starting from 37 in January this year, she had reached rank 33 in august but slipped two slots to 35 now, which speaks about her consistency, though losing some points in June to August this year.  In fact, the other seeded players have not been as consistent as Chinappa this season. 

Having secured three WISPA titles so far Chinappa  an ISA trainee would be eyeing to win a WISPA event at her home town. Chinappa does not look to be troubled until she makes the semi finals.  

The men’s section is loaded with possibilities as Sandhu, another  ISA trainee, who is in a good nick particularly after winning his maiden title in the PSA last month beating compatriot Suchde in the final.  Sandhu had also brought off some scintillating wins over higher seeded players in the just concluded World Championship in Denmark.   

England’s Chris Simpson, ranked 38, has been given the pride of place in the seeding for PSA event and Shamsul Islam of Pakistan, seeded eight is ranked 105.

A number of Indian players besides overseas stars would be seen fighting for the four berths in the qualifying round to be held on October 5, 2009.

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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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