Hong Kong and Pakistan win Asian Squash Teams

Pakistan and Hong Kong China emerged winners of the men’s and women’s team events at the Asian squash championships on Saturday. Pakistan snuffed out Malaysia’s hopes of a title defence in two matches while Hong Kong China brushed aside India’s feeble opposition with a similar scoreline.

In the women’s event, India was outplayed by a resurgent Hong Kong China, a team the host had beaten in the league stage. Anaka Alankamony fought gallantly against Joey Chan, splitting the first two games and racing to 7-3 in the third. From then, Chan won six successive points to reach 9-7 and closed the game 11-9. A 9-3 lead in the fourth game was too much for her opponent to surmount as Chan sealed it 11-7. Joshna Chinappa (WISPA rank 31) experienced a 25-minute pasting at the hands of World. No. 18 Rebecca Chiu in the second match. Read more of this post

Indian women enter finals

Indian women entered the final of the team event of the Asian squash championship after an eight-year interval with a polished win against Korea in the semi-finals here Friday and will clash with Hong Kong who upstaged fancied Malaysia. The Indian women have every chance of annexing the title tomorrow as they had beaten Hong Kong in the league stage. India had last made the final in 2002, but lost.

Young Anaka Alakamony set the ball rolling for the Indians when she beat Kim Ga Hye 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 in just 20 minutes. National champion Joshna Chinappa followed by taking the second singles with a 11-2, 11-4, 11-8 rout of Song Sun Mi in 22 minutes to clinch the issue.

In the other semi-final, Hong Kong bounced back after losing the opening singles to beat Malaysia l Read more of this post

Asian Seniors Semi finals

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [9/16] Dipika Pallikal 11/5, 11/5, 11/2 (23m)
[2] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg) bt [5/8] Joey Chan (Hkg) 11/7, 11/9, 5/11, 15/17, 11/4 (46m)

[1] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [3/4] Saurav Ghosal 11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (44m)
[3/4] Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt [5/8] Yasir Butt (Pak)

Asian Senior Squash, Chennai Day 1

Malaysians Nicol David and Mohd. Azlan advanced a step closer to defending their titles at the Asian Senior Squash Championships with easy wins. The showstopper of the day was the pre-quarterfinal contest between Dipika Pallikal and Low Wee Wern wherein the local favourite came back from the dead to register a victory in five games over 65 minutes.

Dipika lost the first game 10-12 and trailed 4-9 in the second before she put a lid on her cack-handed ways. Drop-shots abounded from her racket thereafter and although Wern snatched the fourth game to tie the match, Dipika stepped on it after being locked at 8-8, taking the decider 11-8. Read more of this post

Asian Championships start today

The defending champion in both the men’s and women’s categories, Malaysia has received the top billing in the team event, while India is seeded third. The host will be served by Sourav Ghosal, Siddharth Suchde. Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Ritwik Bhattacharaya in the men’s event and by Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Anaka Alankamony and Surbhi Misra in the women’s section. Read more of this post

Chennai To Host World Doubles Championships In December

The 2008 World International Doubles Squash Championships, which will be staged in India in December, will be the first international tournament to feature the new wider doubles court. The 4th staging of the Championships, which were inaugurated in 1997 in Hong Kong, will take place at the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai, from 15-20 December. Read more of this post

5th ICL Chennai Open, 1st Round

ICL Academy’s Harinderpal Singh Sandhu avenged his defeat of Sunday at the 1st SPA Classic (a national event) when he defeated country mate Siddharth Suchde in a thrilling 5 set encounter. Exceptional retrieving from both players was the order of the day with Harinder coming from 4-7 down in the fifth with 3 amazing forehand kills from behind to win his first match against Siddharth.
An erratic Naresh made it into the Quarterfinals defeating qualifier Hitham Ashoush also in 5 games. Egyptians, Omar Tarek and Mohd Sayed created the upsets of the day defeating Jonas Laursen and Parth Sharma respectively. Top seeded Ritwik playing his first match in a few months convincingly defeated Gaurav is straight games.
[1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (28m)

[Q] Mohd Sayed Mahmoud Aly (EGY) bt [7] Parth Sharma (IND) 11-3, 11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 11-7(40m)

[3] Dick Lau (HKG) bt Karim AGA Samy (EGY) 11- 6 , 11- 8 , 11- 6 ( 32m)

Omar Tarek Mahm Aly (EGY) bt [8] Jonas Laursen (DEN) 11- 4 , 11- 9, 11- 7 (20m)

[5] Naresh Kumar (IND) bt [Q] Hitham Ashoush (EGY) 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-2 (43m)

[4] Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-2, 4-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 (51m)

[6] Parthiban Ayappan (IND) bt [Q] Akshay Deepak (IND) 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (12m)

[2] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 11- 6, 11- 5, 11- 10(3 -1) ( 30m)

ICL Chennai Open PSA Squash

Ritwik Bhattacharya has been given the pride of place in seedings for the fifth ICL Chennai Open PSA Squash tournament to be held in Channai from Aug 15 to 18.
Four qualifiers, along with 12 players would make the main draw of 16 and the cut off range from 61 to 273 with Parth, Harinder, Gaurav, Siddharth, Parthiban and Naresh directly seeded in the main draw.  Mohd. Ali Anwar Reda (ranked 61), Dick Lau (HK-118), Jonas Laursen (Den-206), Omar Tarek Mahm Aly (Egy-249) and Karim A.G.A.Samy (Egy-273) would provide foreign flavour to the tournament.

Deccan Herald article on Saurav Ghosal

Saurav Ghosal’s life has turned one full circle ever since he moved out of his home town Kolkata and joined the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai.For someone who picked up a racquet at the young age of nine, success came soon. His first major title was the German Open (U-17) in May 2002 and he won the Dutch Open two months later. However, the crowning glory came in the form of the British Open (U-19) title in 2004 and he thereby became the first Indian to claim the title ever since its inception in 1980.
Last week, he added another chapter to his fledgling career by winning the National championship (in Chennai) – his third victory in four years. “Going into the final, I was under a little pressure, considering the fact that I was defending my title. But I relish such challenges. After all, there is no fun without pressure,” said Ghosal, who was in Bangalore on a private visit last week.
Coached by retired Major Maniam and Cyrus Poncha while in Chennai, he currently trains under Malcolm Willstrop in Leeds and he thanks his father Prakash, who heads the Kolkata Racquet Club for having initiated him into the game. Much later, the move from Kolkata to the ICL academy in Chennai with help from India Cements executive director N Ramachandran proved to be a boon.
Ghosal has numerous firsts to his credit, the first Indian to be ranked junior World No one, the first to bag the junior National championship three years in a row and in December 2006, he won the country the first medal in squash in the Doha Asian Games.
The 20-year-old rates his Asian Games bronze medal with high regard and has his reason too. “I am proud of the fact that I could win the country the first medal in squash. Moreover, the Doha bronze earned squash a slot in the Government’s priority list,” recalls Ghosal, who beat compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya en route to the last four stage before losing to Malaysia’s Ong Ben Hee in the semifinal. And he thinks his rivalry with Ritwik bodes well for the game. “The first time I watched him win the junior championship in Kolkata, I was just a kid. When I went on to beat him in the final of the National championship three years ago, it was a dream come true for me. Our rivalry is good for the game. You need someone to keep yourself on the toes always. Siddarth (whom he beat in the National final last week) is also proving to be a tough competitor.”
Pointing out his premature exit from the World junior championship in 2004 as one of the major disappointments of his career, Ghosal believes the game needs to be promoted more as he thinks it’s a sure bet for an Olympic medal. “We lost out for 2012. But we should make it at least for the 2016 edition,” he said. Despite being known for his swift court movement, Ghosal believes there are certain grey areas in his game which need improvement and he believes the stint with Willstrop would be handy here. “After training under him, I have improved my angular returns and forehands. I am hitting the ball harder now,” said Ghosal, who is enjoying a much needed break before he heads back to Leeds where he is pursuing his graduation his Economics and Management.
And as the current World number 42 gears up for a gruelling season which begins with the CAS International tournament in August in Islamabad, he has his priorities right. “Three years ago, I had set a target for myself – to get into the top 10 by the time the 2010 Commonwealth Games comes. The way I have been playing recently, I think I have come a long way in realising my goal.

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.

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