National squash c'ship: Ghoshal, Joshna have it easy

Saurav Ghoshal defeated Gaurav Nandrajog 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 in the men's pre-quarterfinals, while Joshna Chinappa stayed glued to her task as she cruised into the pre-quarterfinals.

Gaurav Nandrajog (left) battles Saurav Ghosal in the men's pre-quarterfinals of the National squash championship in Greater Noida on Wednesday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

It looked a play-back from memory, but top seed Saurav Ghosal was in too good a touch to let Gaurav Nandrajog stretch him in the men’s pre-quarterfinals of the HCL 74th National squash Championship at the Shiv Nadar University Indoor Complex here on Wednesday.

The 11-time national champion, Saurav had beaten Gaurav in the final in 2006, but the latter had been grappling with injuries thereafter to pose any further challenge till this day.

Despite coming through the strenuous qualifying event, winning five matches, including the last round in the morning, Gaurav said that he had the energy, but was not that prepared to tackle a champion of Saurav’s class straightaway in the knock-out phase.

‘’It was the luck of the draw. My name was picked first and I had to play the top seed’’, said Gaurav, quite pleased that he could at least compete in the third game against the perennial champion.

In fact, Saurav gave himself some room for amusement by trying a fancy shot in the third game, but tightened his game in time to conserve energy for the path ahead.

The second seed Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu who had stretched Saurav to his wit’s end over five games in the final last year, was not too happy with his start against Vikas Jangra, but said that he would be sharp as the tournament progressed.

Left-hander Velavan Senthilkumar of Tamil Nadu got past State mate Vikas Mehra. One of the qualifiers, Abhishek Pradhan managed to tame the seeded opponent Ravi Dixit, in emerging an exception to the rule.

In the women’s event, in the absence of defending champion and second seed Dipika Pallikal Karthik, the competitive sting was missing. However, 14-time national champion Joshna Chinappa stayed glued to her task as she cruised into the pre-quarterfinals, winning two matches, in a draw that had to be stretched to 128 owing to one extra player.

There were walkovers in the second round, but tournament director Harish Prasad clarified that there was no scope for altering the draw when the withdrawals were within 48 hours before the start of competition.

Prapti Salunkhe who got a walkover from Dipika in the second round won against NItya Arya to reach the pre-quarterfinals.

The results:

Men (pre-quarterfinals): Saurav Ghosal bt Gaurav Nandrajog 11-2, 11-5, 11-9; Abhishek Pradhan bt Ravi Dixit 12-10, 11-5, 11-6; Vijay Kumar bt Rishi Jalan 11-5, 11-3, 11-4; Kush Kumar bt Abhinav Sinha 11-9, 11-4, 11-4; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Abhishek Agarwal 11-4, 11-2, 11-6; Velavan Senthilkumar bt Vikas Mehra 11-8, 11-7, 11-3; Aditya Jagtap bt Ranjit Singh 11-8, 4-11, 11-4, 11-6; Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu bt Vikas Jangra 11-3, 11-8, 11-2.

Women (third round): Joshna Chinappa bt Harshita Goyal 11-4, 11-6, 11-1; Sanika Choudhari bt Sunny Mehta 11-0, 11-2, 11-1; Ashita Pranaya Behngra w.o. Sejal Bahl; Hritika Malhotra bt Jannat Duhan 11-3, 11-5, 11-5; Tanvi Khanna bt Soni Kumari 11-0, 11-0, 11-0; Sachika Balvani bt Aardhana Kasturiraj 11-2, 11-4, 11-2; Megha Bhatia bt Oma Choudhary
1-8, 11-4, 11-2; Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Mahek 11-2, 11-3, 11-4; Sachika Ingale bt Adya Wadhwa 11-1, 11-2, 11-3; Mayuri Namasivayam bt Hresha Patil 11-2, 11-4, 11-1; Amira Singh bt Shamita Yadav 11-2, 11-1, 11-0; Lakshya Ragavendran bt Chandani Kumari 11-1, 11-3, 11-2; Urwashi Joshi bt Smriti Bajaj 11-1, 11-1, 11-5; Jui Kalgutkar bt Rewati Kumari 11-0, 11-1, 11-0; Riya Sisodia bt Neha Kumari 11-0, 11-0, 11-0; Prapti Salunkhe bt Nitya Arya 11-3, 11-4, 11-5.

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