It is often acknowledged that Joshna Chinnappa is one of the best squash players India has ever produced. Her string of wins within the country and abroad has stood out to be a true testimony of her prowess.
Four years ago, partnering Dipika Pallikal, the 31-year-old had provided Indian squash with a major breakthrough – gaining the first-ever gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. And on Friday at the
Oxenford studio courts here, the Chennai-based champion warmed up well for the expected title defence, reaching the quarterfinals of the women’s singles with an efficient 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 win over Tamika Saxby (Australia).
Attacking all the way and using the side walls well to wrong foot her opponent – a favourite with the crowds, Joshna required just 25 minutes to emerge the winner of this crucial tie and keep Indian hopes alive in the singles play in the sport.
Sadly, both Vikram Malhotra and Dipika Pallikal – who also featured in the pre-quarterfinals – could not repeat their performance of Thursday and was forced to exit. Pitted against the reigning champion, Nick Matthew (England), Malhotra did raise hopes as he stole the second set from the English player. But with the English not allowing any leeway in the next two sets, it was curtains down for the Indian who lost 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 in 40 minutes.
Dipika, who ran into Australian Alison Waters, surrendered at 3-11, 6-11, 2-11, what with her rival packing too much power in her shots and showed no signs of flagging at any time of the match.