India is assured of atleast one semifinal spot in the ongoing British Junior Open squash here but it could be more with four boys having made it to the last four in two age categories.
With the event reaching the quarterfinal stage, India is sure of a semifinal spot in the boys U-17 section where Tushar Shahani and Saksham Choudhary, both seeded 9/16, are to face each other in the quarterfinal late on Friday night.
But there are chances of more semifinal berths. Neel Joshi, seeded 3/4 has also reached the quarters as has Arnaav Sareen, seeded 17/32, both in the U-15 section.
Tushar, Saksham, Neel and Arnaav had impressive runs. Both Tushar and Saksham beat higher seeded opponents enroute. Tushar's victims were Harish Qasim (Pak) ( 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8) in the second round after a bye in the first. Then he got past Juan Carlos (Mexico) 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 next and
5/8 seed Lewis Anderson of England 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 11-1 in the prequarters. Saksham's was even more striking. He too had a bye in the first round and then got past Jake Creaven of Ireland 11-4, 11-6, 11-0 and then defeated Sam Buckley, a 17/32 seed from Ireland 11-6, 13-11,10-12, 11-5. In the prequarters he had a fight in hand, beating Shahrul Izham Nurhaqiem of Malaysia, a ¾ seed 11-4, 6-11, 16-14, 4-11, 11-6.
Neel had a smoother run. Seeded ¾, he enjoyed a first round bye and then downed Dominic Bayley of England 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 next before getting past Dylan Moran of Ireland (17/32 seed) 11-3, 11-5, 11-1.
In the pre-quarters, he oustged the 9/16 seed from Egypt Seifeldin Shams 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 to make it to the last eight without dropping a game. Arnaav on the other hand had a tough task. He had a bye in the first round, then beat Farid Farrag of Cze 11-4, 11-2, 11-1 next.
Defeating Shaam Ghambir of USA, a 9/16 seed, 11-6, 11-3, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8 after nearly slipping, Aarnav made it to the quarters with a 11-9, 16-14, 11-7 win over England's Alhassan Khalil a 5/8 seed.