Joshna holds her own as Saurav falls to Zaman

Joshna Chinappa played true to her form and reputation to reach the final of the individual event in women’s squash beating Saida Gul of Pakistan in the semi-finals, at the R. G. Barua Sports Complex here on Sunday.

Joshna packed off Saida (right) in little over 30 minutes to finalise the score-line 11-9, 11-7, 11-9.   -  AP

Joshna Chinappa played true to her form and reputation to reach the final of the individual event in women’s squash beating Saida Gul of Pakistan in the semi-finals, at the R. G. Barua Sports Complex here on Sunday.

Joshna, who is the highest-ranked Indian at No. 14 in the world, gave enough of her ability to make short work of her Pakistani opponent and kept alive hopes for a gold medal. Joshna will take on the world No. 50 Maria Toorpakai of Pakistan in the title clash on Monday.

Lone ranger

Joshna remained the sole Indian in the fray as the men’s draw was cleaned up by the formidable Pakistanis who saw the end of Harinder Pal Sandu and the highly-fancied Saurav Ghosal in the semis. Top-seeded Joshna’s performance sparked off the confidence and the class that puts her as one of the best women’s players in the world. The Indian was in control right from the start and dominated the rallies allowing little opportunity to her opponent, Saida, to get a foothold in the match.

Joshna packed off Saida in a little over 30 minutes for a 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 victory. Second-seeded Maria also played quite authoritatively to defeat Mihilya Methsarani of Sri Lanka 3-1. The Sri Lankan offered some resistance winning the second game but could not do much as her superior-ranked opponent took her game a few notches higher.

The Pakistan men ensured gold and silver as Nasir Iqbal beat Harinder Pal Sandhu while a relative underdog Farhan Zaman got the better of World No. 20 Saurav Ghosal. Second-seeded Iqbal, the World No. 35, proved too strong for Sandhu (ranked 66), who could not match the court-craft of Pakistan’s top-ranked player.

Sandhu showed true grit in winning one game but retired in the fourth game after suffering a fall that injured his hamstring. Coming from an injury layoff, top-seeded Ghosal was barely in his elements and was outdid by many ranks junior Zaman (world No. 59). Ghosal made a brief comeback winning the third game but Zaman held on to his good form to take the fourth and make it a good win in the end.

The results:

Men’s semi-finals: Nasir Iqbal (Pak) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 11-7, 12-14, 11-7, 6-6 (retd), Farhan Zaman (Pak) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5.

Women’s semi-finals: Joshana Chinappa (Ind) bt Sadia Gul (Pak) 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, Maria Toorpakai (Pak) bt Mihilya Methsarani (Sri) 11-8, 6-11, 11-2, 11-2.