Joshna falters at final hurdle in HKFC squash tourney

Despite producing a spirited performance, Joshna Chinappa went down 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 against the New Zealander Joelle King in the summit clash.

Only once has Joshna Chinappa beaten Joelle King earlier in their eight meetings and that too seven years ago.   -  M. Vedhan

India's national champion Joshna Chinappa fell at the final hurdle after giving a close fight to the top seed Joelle King of New Zealand in the HKFC International squash tournament, a top PSA event here on Saturday. The New Zealander won 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9.

After coming through two five-game encounters earlier, the third seed Indian still looked fresh for another battle. Only once has Joshna beaten Joelle King earlier in their eight meetings and that too seven years ago. Much has happened since. Joelle is 10th in the world, three rungs above Joshna but for all this it proved a lively match with points going neck and neck.

In fact, the Indian had led 9-8 in the first game where Joelle came up with three winning drives. The second too went on similar note with Joelle picking an early lead, Joshna equalising only to see the New Zealander come up with a touch of brilliance.

In the third game, Joshna earned two 'strokes' in the end stages and that sought of put a check on the rival. But the one game reverse did not unsettle Joelle who like in the earlier games, showed the superiority in the end stages with crisp volleys and drops to stop the Indian.

“That was really tough”, said the champion at the end of the 45 minute tussle.