Abhay Singh asserted himself as the top seed, as he found a way past the fighting second seed, Yassin Elshafei 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 in the HCL PSA Challenger squash tournament at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Wednesday.
Coming after the loss of Tanvi Khanna to top seed in the women’s final, to the 15-year-old Amina Orfi of Egypt, albeit in four games, it was a joy for the local fans, especially the many kids who were competing at the venue in another international junior event, to see Abhay triumph.
“Am glad that I was able to win in four. Last time the match had gone the distance to five games. It comes with experience. When pushed to the wall, I was able to come up with the right shots. I know what to do at 9-9, or 10-10, and more importantly what not to do”, said Abhay, who had the flair and fire power to tame a talented opponent, bristling with energy.
Having won seven tournaments since last year, the 24-year-old Abhay said that he was looking forward to step it up and compete in higher level tournaments and play higher quality opponents.
“I may not win much in the next six to eight months, but I want to play the bigger tournaments in Canada and Denmark”, said Abhay. Tanvi Khanna did try to fight better, but was up against a gritty opponent who is keen to become world No.1 in the women’s section in quick time. Having achieved the junior World No.1 rank, and remaining unbeaten since 2018, Amina Orfi is indeed a prodigy in a hurry.
Amina was so focused, bouncing with energy, had all the shots, that she raced away with the first two games in no time. In fact, after Tanvi took the first point, Amina ran away with the next 11 to pocket the second game in a jiffy.
However, Tanvi pulled one back in the third, much to the delight of the cheering fans, and was fighting close in the fourth, at 5-7, before Amina accelerated to the finish, for a 11-4, 11-1, 8-11, 11-7 victory.
“I changed the tactics in the third game and it really worked. I was unable to sustain the game”, said Tanvi, a former top-100 player who hopes for more tournaments in the country and in Asia, as she aspires to get into the top-60.