Joshna Chinappa kept her date with destiny by bagging a record 19th women’s title while Abhay Singh won his maiden title at the HCL-78th Senior National squash championships here on Saturday.
Joshna, seeded No.1, shut out a strong challenge from Anahat Singh, the second seed, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 in the final, with assured court-coverage and precise shot execution.
Abhay, the men’s top seed, took apart S. Velavan to emerge triumphant 11-13,11-7, 11-6,11-4 in the summit clash.
Joshna, it appeared, came well prepared for the match. She was composed and attacked with power and used her vast experience to deceive the 14-year-old. In all the three games, the 36-year-old took a seizable lead only to find Anahat come back strongly. But Joshna was too strong on the day.
Anahat didn’t give up so easily as she fought for every point, showing her skills on the forecourt and backcourt with delicate drops, forehand and backhand winners.
“She played a fearless game and handled the pressure well. I remembered my first final as a 14-year-old against Vaidehi Reddy in the 2000 Nationals here. It feels great,” said Joshna, who was resting for four months, after suffering a knee injury and took the decision to play the only 4-5 days prior to the Nationals.
Velavan, playing in his first final, did well to save four game points to win the first game against Abhay. But the 24-year-old Abhay, who had won three PSA titles this year, came back strongly pushing Velavan to both sides of court and finishing the points with backhand crosscourt placements sometimes and with a forehand flourish other times.
“Winning the Nationals was a dream for me and winning it in my first final is great. It is certainly my biggest win and very special,” said Abhay. K. P. Karthikeyan, Member Secretary, SDAT, gave away the prizes.
The results (finals):
Men: (1) Abhay Singh (TN) bt (⅝)S. Velavan (TN) 11-13,11-7, 11-6,11-4; Women: (1)Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt (2) Anahat Singh (Del) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.
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