National squash c’ship: Kush Kumar in semifinals

Kush defeated Vijay Kumar 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.

Kush Kumar (diving) en route to victory over Vijay Kumar at the National squash championship.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Kush Kumar gave a glimpse of his power as he propelled his way past Vijay Kumar 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 in the men’s quarterfinals at the HCL 74th National squash championship at Shiv Nadar University Indoor Complex here on Thursday.

Kush, a student of Trinity College who is trained by the U.S. National coach Paul Assaiante, besides Vikram Malhotra, Kush said he was looking forward to the match against top-seed and 11-time National champion Saurav Ghosal. Kush is also the only Indian to have won a World championship junior medal.

Recalling that he had beaten Kush in four games two years ago, Saurav said that he would look to play well rather than worry about anything else.

‘Pumped up’

“I like the fast court. I am pretty happy and pumped up to play the semifinal,” said Kush.

Incidentally, Kush was part of the Indian team - along with Harinder Pal Sandhu, Mahesh Mangaonkar and Saurav Ghosal - that won the Asian Games gold in Incheon in 2014. Interestingly, all the four players made the semifinals here, in different ways.

Second seed Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu was in a lot of trouble after a sluggish start against Aditya Jagtap, but regained the surety of his touch and confident game to pull through in four games. Harinder, who had stretched Saurav to five games in the final last year, will face Mahesh, who proved too much of a puzzle for the young left-hander Velavan Senthilkumar. Saurav was clinical in beating Abhishek Pradhan, the only qualifier who had won a round in the knock-out phase.

No complains

In the women’s section, 14-time national champion Joshna Chinappa had to struggle to stay focused for lack of quality opposition but had no complains as she cruised into the semifinals. She will play Tanvi Khanna, who won back-to-back five-game thrillers against Sachika Balvani and Sunayna Kuruvilla in the morning and evening. Tanvi was staring at defeat at 8-7 in the fourth game against Sunayna in the quarterfinals, but pulled ahead 11-9, 11-6 in the last two games.

The other semifinal will feature a tie between Lakshya Ragavendran and Urvashi Joshi.

The results

Men (quarterfinals): Saurav Ghosal bt Abhishek Pradhan 11-1, 11-6, 11-3; Kush Kumar bt Vijay Kumar 11-5, 11-5, 11-8; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Velavan Senthilkumar 11-7, 11-4, 11-7; Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu bt Aditya Jagtap 9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8.

Women (quarterfinals): Joshna Chinappa bt Ashita Pranaya Bhengra 11-5, 11-4, 11-7; Tanvi Khanna bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6; Lakshya Ragavendran bt Sachika Ingale 11-6, 11-13, 11-2, 11-9; Urvashi Joshi bt Riya Sisodia 11-0, 11-1, 11-9.

Pre-quarterfinals: Joshana Chinappa bt Sanika Choudhari 11-2, 11-9, 11-4; Ashita Pranaya Bhengra w.o. Hritika Malhotra; Tanvi Khanna bt Sachika Balvani 1-9, 11-4, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6; Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Megha Bhatia 11-5, 11-3, 1-6; Sachika Ingale bt Mayuri Namasivayam 11-4, 11-5, 11-7; Lakshya Ragavendran bt Amira Singh 11-9, 11-8, 11-6; Urvashi Joshi bt Jui Kalgutkar 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-6; Riya Sisodia bt Prapti Salunkhe 11-3, 11-3, 11-7.