Squash: Grand show by Neel Joshi

The Maharashtra boy showed sensational touch in the U-15 category by winning the title in the prestigious Cologne Junior Cup 2017.

India’s Neel Joshi shone bright in the U-15 category of the prestigious Cologne Junior Cup 2017.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Bright young Indian talent, Neel Joshi showed sensational touch in the U-15 category by winning the title in the prestigious Cologne Junior Cup 2017 which concluded here on Monday. The Maharashtra boy defeated the top seed Marek Panacek of Czech republic 9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.

In a draw of 128, Joshi was placed in the bottom half with seeding of 33/64. After a bye in the first round , he downed seed 9/16 Karim Farrag of Czech in straight games 11-2, 11-6, 11-4. Another fluent 11-2, 11-6, 11-3 win over Baptiste Bouin of France brought him into the fourth round. Joshi's good touch was clear as he grew in strength to beat Miguel Mathis of Switzerland 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 for a quarterfinal berth.

An impressive 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 effort over Auggie Bhavsar, the 17/32 seed from USA saw him sail into the semifinal. His next victim was the ¾ seed Thimi Christiaens (Belgium) to whom be conceded one game but won 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 to storm into the title-round.

In all, 18 Indians had taken part in this important German event where some of the best talents from the world over participated. Aside from Joshi, the other highlights of the Indian show was the runner up finish of three others - Rutva Samant in the U-13 boys section, Yuvna Gupta in the girls section and Aishwarya Khubchandani in the U-15 girls section.

Yuvna, who was the top seed had fluent wins enroute to the final where she faltered against Lojayn Gohary of Egypt. The Egyptian won 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7.

Rutva looked confident right through before in a fighting final, Egyptian Abdallah Amr overcame him 8-11, 14-12, 13-11, 14-12. As for Aishwarya, the Maharashtra girl lived on with her semifinal effort over Orla Young (Scotland) going to five games. In the final, Aishwarya lost to Serena Daniel from USA after being two games up. The American won 14-16, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8.

Final standings of others: Boys: U-13: Jaiveer Dhillon (33 rd place) ; U-15: Kanhav Nanavati (17th ), Shreemann (34th), Arnav Sareen(34th ); U-17: Rahul Baiha (5th), Saksham Choudhary (33rd), Inderjit Singh (34th), Raunak Advani (39th), Araash Mehta (43rd); U-19: Aryan Parekh( 18th), Vikas Mehra (19th).

Girls: U-15: Yoshna Singh (5th); Ananya Dabke (9th); U-17: Jannia Singh (17th).

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