Saurav Ghosal wins historic bronze at Commonwealth Games 2022

Commonwealth Games 2022: Saurav Ghosal humbled former world number one James Willstrop of England 11-6, 11-1, 11-4 to clinch the bronze medal.

Saurav Ghosal of India celebrates his victory in Men’s Singles - Bronze Medal Match between India and England.

Saurav Ghosal of India celebrates his victory in Men’s Singles - Bronze Medal Match between India and England. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Commonwealth Games 2022: Saurav Ghosal humbled former world number one James Willstrop of England 11-6, 11-1, 11-4 to clinch the bronze medal.

Saurav Ghosal was a bundle of emotions after the bronze medal match, and rightfully so. The 35-year-old won a medal in a category that denied him the chance every time of asking - the men’s singles.

But on Wednesday evening, that would change. Ghosal would go on and win a bronze in the men’s singles category beating veteran, former world number 1 and defending Commonwealth Games champion James Willstrop of England 11-6, 11-1, 11-4.

Ghosal, in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, was training with another former world number 1, Gregory Gaultier, trying to fine-tune his technique. When asked if the English were a big threat in the medal rounds (alluding to the doubles), his instant response was, “Yes, but Paul Coll and Joel Makin are the top two seeds (in the singles) and ones to beat.”

Having said that, his opponent Willstrop, while proving to be almost no match for him on the day, has six CWG medals (three individual and three in doubles) to his name. Also, Ghosal had never seriously challenged Willstrop in the nine times they had met previously, winning only once.

Willstrop, 38, nicknamed the “Marksman” on the Professional Squash Association tour because of his skilled racket work and prized drop shots, almost spinning a web around opponents, seemed to have lost his shine in this match.

Ghosal took a comfortable lead in the first game, reading Willstrop’s deceptive game fairly easily, perhaps because he used to train with the Englishman, back when his father, the late Malcolm, used to coach the two. While Willstrop was able to capitalise on a few loose shots from Ghosal, it wasn’t enough. The game also saw some interesting exchanges between the referee and Ghosal when the former gave two different decisions for similar circumstances.

In the second game, the older of the two had to work hard for every point as Ghosal, known for his quick feet, retrieved everything thrown at him. The second game was over in a jiffy with Ghosal giving away just one point towards the end.

However, despite the scoreline saying otherwise, the two players played top-notch squash with rallies resembling exhibition game lengths rather than a competitive match.

The third game saw some exchanges between Willstrop and the referee at 3-9. Willstrop sought a let(a replay of the point), but the original decision was upheld in the Indian’s favour. At 3-10, Willstrop launched one of his threateningly precise shots to save a match point, but it was too little too late.

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