Three top players–two in men and one in women–have pulled out of the HCL-78th Senior National squash championships beginning here on Wednesday, giving the men’s and women’s field an open look.
Defending men’s champion Saurav Ghosal, Ramit Tandon and Sunayna Kuruvilla have opted out for different reasons.
While Ghosal had informed beforehand Squash Rackets Federation of India of him being tired because of a long season where he won a historic Commonwealth Game singles bronze, Ramit Tandon, who was seeded one, said “over the last couple of days I had stomach issues along with fever.” Second seeded Sunayna has suffered a hamstring injury.
The withdrawal of the players has in, no way, diluted the quality of the field. Abhay Singh and eighteen-time champion Joshna Chinappa, the top seeds in men and women, will be the favourites for the crown, but it definitely will not be a cakewalk for them.
Abhay has been red-hot form having won three PSA Tour titles this year. However, he will be challenged by S. Velavan, looking forward to his maiden National crown, and former champion Harinderpal Singh.
Joshna, 36, won her maiden National title at 14 years. The former World No.10 might have to face a 14-year-old and second seed Anahat Singh, who is widely considered to be an exciting talent, in the final. Of course, there is the experienced Tanvi Khanna and Akansha Salunkhe who will be keen to do well. The women’s final qualifying round will be held on Wednesday morning. The Nationals have seen the highest-ever number of entries in women: 80.
Men: Veer Chotrani, Naveen Jangra, Vikas Mehra, Harinderpal Singh, Ravi Dixit, Vijay Kumar, Vaibhav Chauhan, Ranjit Singh.