Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa continue to dazzle with their superior craft.
Reaffirming the dominance in the SRFI-77th Senior National squash championships, the top seeds in the men's and women's sections reached the summit clash in pursuit of their 13th and 19th titles respectively.
Saurav showed the 21-year-old Abhay Singh that he has got a lot to learn as he scripted an 11-9, 11-1, 11-8 victory, while Joshna outclassed Maharashtra’s Sanya Vats, the 18-year-old, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 in the semifinals on Friday.
While these results were along expected lines, it was the other last-four clashes in the men and women's categories that caught the attention.
Abhishek Pradhan, the second seed, played out of his skin to defeat Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, a former champion in a five-game thriller 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7.
A high-intensity clash ensued between Tanvi Khanna and Sunayna Kuruvilla, with the former emerging triumphant 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10.
Harinder showed his trademark fighting abilities to come back from being two games down. The decider saw Abhishek take an 8-4 and 9-6 leads with a fine backhand drop from the backcourt. The 26-year-old held his own to finish the match with a forehand winner. “He [Harinder] is my mentor and a very good friend. We were together at Indian Squash Academy for five years. To beat him was a great moment,” said Abhishek.
The much-anticipated clash between Tanvi and Sunayna was evenly matched. Tanvi’s patience and deception prevailed over Sunayna’s aggression and sharp and quick movements.
The decider and fifth game saw Tanvi take a 8-6 lead only to see Sunayna equalise at 8-each. Sunayna had a match point at 10-9, but she committed a backhand error. Tanvi then took the next two points to win the gruelling contest and set up a clash with Joshna.
-Asian team champions on-
There has been speculation for a while as to whether the Asian Team squash championships scheduled to held in Kuala Lumpur from March 25 to 29 will go on as per plan given the coronavirus threat.
However, Major S. Maniam, Director of Coaching at Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), told the media here on Friday that the event would go on, but insisted that if the teams are pulling out then one has to review the decision.
“Two days ago we (SRAM) had a meeting with the Ministry of Health and they said we can continue with the event as long as the participants come and get screened at the airport. If they find a cause for concern, they will have to undergo a medical check-up. The Asian Squash Federation has also sent out a circular to all participating teams that the event is on until further notice,” he said.
Maniam further said it is not possible to shift the venue at such short notice.