PSA Challenger 5 Imet Open, Bratislava, Slovakia (11-15 Dec’13)
Dec 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Five-game victories over the event’s top two seeds led to Mahesh Mangaonkar becoming the first Indian winner of the PSA IMET Open, the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 squash event marking its sixth year at the Imet Squash Centrum in the Slovakia capital Bratislava.
The 19-year-old World No.98 from Mumbai made his breakthrough in the semi-finals where he downed two-time champion Jan Koukal, the top seed from the Czech Republic expected to make his fourth final appearance in six years, 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11 in 98 minutes.
Third seed Mangaonkar then lined up against defending champion Greg Lobban, the No.2 seed from Scotland who was celebrating his third successive appearance in a Tour final.
Despite his heroics less than 24 hours earlier, the Indian teenager was still able to call upon reserves to recover from losing the first game to take a 2/1 lead.
Edinburgh-based Lobban, ranked 82 in the world, dug deep to take the fourth to force a fifth game decider.
But Mangaonkar refused to give up, reclaiming the advantage to close out the match 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7 after 77 minutes to take the title.
“The turning point of this final was in the second set, where I started to move properly on the court,” said the jubilant champion after the second Tour title triumph of his career.
“I was happy to win the third, rested a bit in fourth and fought back in fifth. Squash is also a mental game and I gave it all I had in the final set.”
RESULTS: PSA Challenger 5 Imet Open, Bratislava, Slovakia
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Tristan Eysele (ENG) 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (23m)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Jonas Daehler (SUI) 7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6 (66m)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Christophe Andre (FRA) 11-3, 11-4, 13-11 (40m)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt  Jan Koukal (CZE) 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11 (98m)
 Greg Lobban (SCO) bt  Reiko Peter (SUI) 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4 (57m)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt  Greg Lobban (SCO) 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7 (77m)