National Squash Championship: Saksham, Joshna advance

Saksham Chodhary served a warning to the rest of the field by knocking out third seed Ranjit Singh 11-2, 13-11, 11-3 in the 75th National Squash Championship.

Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (front) in action against Ashish Patel at the National squash championship in Noida.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Saksham Chodhary served a warning to the rest of the field by knocking out third seed Ranjit Singh 11-2, 13-11, 11-3 in the HCL 75th National Squash Championship at the HCL Hub here on Thursday.

In the glass court, set on the lawns of the picturersque headquarters of HCL, the players literally felt the heat of the sun, but pulled through in ambivalent light.

In fact, the organisers opted to reschedule the start of Friday’s matches to late afternoon in accepting the demands of the players for better playing conditions.

It was not easy for the players to settle down and those who were sharp, and well prepared, capitalised on the situation, like the way Saksham did, in setting up a quarterfinal against Abhishek Pradhan.

One of the lower seeds, Jamal Sakib who reached the venue just in time for the first match of the day, fought hard before being beaten by Vikas Mehra in four games.

Vikas will challenge the second seed and title aspirant Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu.

Top seed Mahesh Mangaonkar who has won two titles this season in Finland and Belgium got off to a strong start against Naveen Jangra. He will play Vijay Kumar who got a walkover as Ravi Dixit failed to report for his match.

Vikram Malhotra and Gaurav Nandrajog were energetic in setting up a quarterfinal against each other.

In the women’s section, only two players, top seed Joshna Chinappa, looking for her 16th national title, and second seed Urvashi Joshi, got to play their matches on the glass court, while the rest tackled their opponents at the Siri Fort Squash Courts in Delhi.

It was a cake walk for Joshna against Sunidhi Pandey who made it a point to take a photo with the champion after the match, while Urwashi tamed left-hander Divyakriti Singh without much trouble.

Sanya Vats pulled off a fighting 11-13, 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7 victory over third seed Sachika Ingale, to meet another Sachika, Balvani in the quarterfinals.

The results (pre-quarterfinals):

Men: Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Naveen Jangra 11-4, 11-5, 11-2; Vijay Kumar w.o. Ravi Dixit; Abhishek Pradhan bt Rahul Baitha 11-6, 11-6, 11-9; Saksham Choudhary bt Ranjit Singh 11-2, 13-11, 11-3; Vikram Malhotra bt Guhan Senthilkumar 11-6, 11-2, 11-3; Gaurav Nandrajog bt Suhail Kapur 11-4, 12-10, 11-5; Vikas Mehra bt Jamal Sakib 11-6, 14-12, 12-14, 11-8; Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu bt Ashish Patel 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.

Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Sunidh Pandey 11-0, 11-2, 11-1; Tanvi Khanna bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6; Sachika Balvani bt Janet Vidhi 11-9, 11-7, 11-6; Sanya Vats bt Sachika ingale 11-13, 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7; Aparajitha Balamurugan bt Vasudha Surange 11-3, 11-3, 11-4; Mayuri Namasivayam bt Anna Avasthi 11-4, 11-2, 11-6; Sanika Choudhari bt Aaradhana Kasturiraj 11-6, 11-4, 11-4; Urwashi Joshi bt Divyakriti Singh 11-1, 11-5, 11-4.