Joshna Chinappa shocked World No. 1 Raneem El Welily of Egypt in the first round of the Qatar Classic Squash Championship in an astonishing upset in the World Tour season. The World No. 20 needed 37 minutes to outclass Welily 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9. However, her Indian compatriot Dipika Pallikal lost her first-round encounter with Yathreb Adel, also from Egypt, 5-11, 7-11, 7-11 in 26 minutes, to round off a mixed day for India. Adel will face Chinappa in the second round of the tournament.
Joshna, who had defeated World No.10 Annie Au in straight games at the Delaware Investments US Open just two weeks ago, came into the second PSA World Series tournament of the season in form and shot out of the blocks to establish an early two-game lead over an out-of-sorts El Welily.
The performance from the 26-year old from Alexandria was littered with errors as she struggled to find any consistency. A costly error on 9-8 in the fourth game, when she was on course to level the match, allowed Joshna back into the game and the 29-year-old Indian pounced, taking the next two points, and the match, to record one of the biggest victories of her career.
“This is by far the best win of my career — it doesn’t get any better than beating the player at the top of the world rankings,” Joshna said.
“I’ve played Raneem many times before so to get out to a 2-0 lead was huge and really gave me hope. With a player of her quality you can never be sure, she’s World No.1 for a reason and she can come back from any position even when not at her best, so I’m really happy to come through. I’ve not been looking at my rankings or anything like that of late and I think that’s showing through in my game. I’m more relaxed on court and it’s paying off at the moment,” she said. “Hopefully I can keep my momentum going now and take that into my next match and see how far I can go.”
Saurav Ghosal is in the fray in the men’s section and will play his first match tomorrow.
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