Squash: Dipika, Joshna storm into quarterfinals

Having won over Pakistan, Wales and Malta the Indians completed the Pool matches on a clean slate to top the group and qualify for the quarterfinals in the four-pool event.

Dipika Pallikal Karthik (in pic) and Joshna Chinappa are the reigning Commonwealth Games champions.   -  Getty Images

The reigning gold medallists in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik have moved into the quarterfinals in the women's doubles on another good day for India in the squash events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.

As the top seeds in Pool C, the onus was on the Indians and Joshna and Dipika started off well by ousting the tough Wales pair of Tesni Evans and Deon Saffery in 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 in the morning.

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It was a bit tricky with the Welsh duo bouncing back but the Indians had things firmly under control to squeeze out the win.

Later, in the afternoon in their last Pool match, Joshna and Dipika downed the Maltese pair Dianne Kellas and Colette Sultana in straight games 11-5, 11-6.

Having won over the Pakistani pair of Faizal Zafar and Madina Zafar, the Indians completed the Pool matches on a clean slate to top the group and qualify for the quarterfinals in the four-pool event.

But the day started with the inspiring winning tale of Vikram Malhotra and Ramit Tandon over the Seeded Wales pair of Peter Creed and Joel Makin in the mens doubles Pool F. The two pairs traded the first two games in close matches before the decisive third game proved a clincher.

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Leading 10-3 and on matchball, the Indians had looked all set for an easy finish but Peter and Joel had different ideas. Picking seven points in a row, the Welsh duo restored parity at 10-all. It required a master effort from Vikram, a crosscourt backhand nick off a serve to grab the crucial point and the victory for the Indians. The Indian pair won 11-7, 8-11, 11-10.

With the third team from Sierra Leone a doubtful starter (having conceded a walk-over to the Welsh pair yesterday) in this Pool, the Indians have taken the top spot and qualified for the round of 16.

The other mixed pair for India, Joshna and Harinder Pal Sandhu then added further joy by winning a crucial match against the Scottish pair of Lisa Aitken and Kevin Moran in Pool H and topping the group.

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It was Harinder who caught the eye in this match for his crosscourt forehand nick to the corner to break the 10-10 deadlock in the first game after the points had gone neck and neck from start.

The next game too went close but the Indians kept a handy lead to win it and the match 11-10, 11-8 and earning the passage for the round of 16.

“It was a great day for India overall with some classy efforts from Vikram and Harinder coming to the fore,”said national coach, Cyrus Poncha , summing up the day's proceedings.

(With inputs from agencies)