World Junior Squash C’ship: Indian challenge ends

No Indian will be seen in action in the individual competition in the remainder of the tourney as the junior men and women bowed out with losses to higher-ranked opponents.

Ashita Bhengra (right) lost to defending champion and top seed Rowan Reda Araby 11-4, 11-8, 11-2.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

The World Junior Squash Championships will shift to the glass court in the Express Avenue shopping mall from Saturday, but no Indian will be seen in action in the individual competition as the junior men and women bowed out with losses to higher-ranked opponents at the Indian Squash Academy courts on Thursday.

However, India’s pool matches in the junior men’s team competition, which begins on July 24, will be held in the show court of the shopping mall, ensuring Indian action for the audience at the premier tournament.

Two mighty Egyptians and a seeded Brit — that was the draw handed to the three Indian boys — Rahul Baitha, Yash Fadte and Veer Chotrani — in the third round. Expectedly, their journey came to an end on Thursday, but the trio managed to display grit and gave the opponents a tough fight before bowing out. The performance should keep the boys in good stead for the upcoming team competition, where they have a better chance of reaching the podium.

Asal ‘too good’

Veer Chotrani, who got the shortest end of the straw, was faced with the unenviable task of facing the second-seeded Egyptian Mostafa Asal. The final scoreline read 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, a fairly straightforward win for Asal, but Chotrani gave a good account of his talent by trying to match the pace of the 2018 British Junior Open U-17 champion.

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Far from being upset, the Indian player looked pleased with the opportunity to play against a quality opponent like Asal. “It is undoubtedly the biggest match so far in my life. I gave it my best, but he was just too good. The pace with which he plays is simply unbelievable, I was quite overwhelmed to just play against him. It was a good learning experience and I hope to play like him in the future,” Chotrani said.

‘Not in the zone’

Yash Fadte, India’s No. 1 junior player, lost to Britain’s James Wyatt in four games 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9. Fadte, who became the first Indian to win the US junior Open title in December last year, was critical of his performance against the Brit. “I didn’t play well today. I was not in the zone. No excuses. But I am looking forward to doing well in the team championships. We have a strong team and we are trying to make the podium this time,” Fadte said.

Rahul Baitha went down to Egypt’s Mostafa Montaser 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.

It was not just the Indian men who had a tough draw. Ashita Bhengra, Sanya Vats and Aishwarya Khubchandani won their first-round matches in the junior women’s section, but all three of them hit roadblock in the form of the formidable Egyptians in the second round.

Ashita Bhengra, India No. 1 and the seniormost player of the side, lost to defending champion and top seed Rowan Reda Araby 11-4, 11-8, 11-2. The No. 1 seed, in fact, attributed the tight second score to a lapse in concentration!

Sanya Vats put up a semblance of a fight and managed to snatch a game from the 9/12 seeded Ingy Hammouda, but the Egyptian prevailed 11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9. India’s campaign in the individual championship ended when Aishwarya Khubchandani was bounced out of the tournament by No. 2 seed Hania El Hammamy 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 later in the day.

In the only big upset of the day, Indian-origin player Sneha Sivakumar defeated England’s Elise Lazarus 10-12, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 after an engaging battle. Sneha, the lone Singaporean left in the competition, had overcome the challenge of British Junior U-15 Open champion Aira Azman in the first round.

Results
  • Men
  • Third round:Marwan Tarek (1), EGY, bt Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar, MAS, 11-8 11-8 11-8; George Crowne, CAN, bt Curtis Malik (13/16), ENG, 4-11 13-11 11-4 11-6; Yehia Elnawasany (9/12), EGY, bt. Matthew Lucente, NZL, 11-5 11-5 12-14 11-5; Mostafa Montaser (5/8), EGY, bt Rahul Baitha, IND, 11-4 11-9 11-9; Nicholas Wall (5/8), ENG, bt Michael Creaven, IRL, 11-4 11-4 11-7; Matias Knudsen (9/12), COL, bt. Abbas Zeb, PAK, 4-11 11-9 11-4 11-3; Julien Gosset (13/16), CAN, bt Chung Yat Long, HKG, 11-5 11-4 11-4; Omar El Torkey (3/4), EGY, bt Nils Schwab, GER, 11-5 11-5 11-2; Mostafa El Serty (3/4), EGY, bt Ryan Picken, CAN, 11-9 11-8 11-9; Siow Yee Xian (13/16), MAS, bt Jared Carter, ENG, 14-12 11-5 11-4; James Wyatt (9/12), ENG, bt Yash Fadte, IND, 11-8 11-6 5-11 11-9; Darren Rahul Pragasam (5/8), MAS, bt Gabe Yam, NZL, 12-10 5-11 11-9 2-11 11-5; Leonel Cardenas (5/8), MEX, bt Haris Qasim, PAK, 11-5 11-6 11-1; James Flynn, CAN, bt. Daelum Mawji (9/12), USA, 11-9 11-7 11-9; Yannick Wilhelmi (13/16), SUI,bt Sam Todd, ENG, 8-11 8-11 11-8 12-10 11-6; Mostafa Asal (2), EGY, bt Veer Chotrani, IND, 11-9 11-8 11-6.
  • Women
  • Second round: Rowan Reda Araby (1), EGY, bt Ashita Bhengra, IND, 11-4 11-8 11-2; Chan Yiwen (13/16), MAS, bt Halya Estili, IRI, 11-1 11-2 11-7; Alice Green (9/12), ENG, bt Cheng Nga Ching, HKG, 11-13 11-4 11-8 11-9; Hana Moataz (5/8), EGY, bt Karina Tyma, POL, 11-6 11-6 14-12; Jana Shiha (5/8), EGY, bt Elle Ruggiero, USA, 11-4 11-5 11-8; Wen Li Lai (9/12), MAS, bt Helena Coetzee, RSA, 11-4 11-6 11-5; Farida Mohamed (13/16), EGY, bt Georgia Robcke, NZL, 11-7 11-3 11-3; Aifa Azman (3/4), MAS, bt Fereshteh Eghtedari, IRI, 11-4 11-6 11-2; Lucy Turmel (3/4), ENG, bt Laila Sedky, USA, 12-10 11-3 11-6; Jessica Keng, MAS, bt Chan Sin Yuk (13/16), HKG, 11-9 12-10 4-11 10-12 11-9;Ingy Hammouda (9/12), EGY, bt Sanya Vats, IND, 11-7 8-11 11-4 11-9; Sneha Sivakumar, Sing, bt Elise Lazarus (5/8), ENG, 10-12 11-4 11-6 11-6; Marina Stefanoni (5/8), USA, def. Alexandra Haydon, AUS, 10-12 11-6 11-8 11-1; Georgia Adderley (9/12), SCO, bt Gigi Yeung, MAC, 11-5 11-3 11-6; Kah Yan Ooi (13/16), MAS, def. Emma Jinks, CAN, 11-7 9-11 12-10 11-7; Hania El Hammamy EGY (2) bt Aishwarya Khubchandani IND 11-6, 11-5, 11-9.
  • First round: Ashita Bhengra, IND, bt Grace Pattison, AUS, 7-11 11-8 11-6 9-11 11-4; Halya Estili, IRI, bt Izane Louw, RSA, 12-10 13-11 3-11 8-11 12-10; Chan Yiwen (13/16), MAS, bt Elisabeth Ross, USA, 11-4 11-3 11-6; Cheng Nga Ching, HKG, bt Meghna Sreedhar, USA, 11-5 11-6 11-4; Karina Tyma, POL, bt Courtney Trail, NZL, 11-3 4-11 7-11 11-6 11-3; Elle Ruggiero, USA, bt. Yoshna Singh, IND, 11-8 11-7 11-7; Helena Coetzee, RSA, bt Courtney Mather, AUS, 9-11 10-12 11-6 11-5 11-9; Wen Li Lai (9/12), MAS, bt Diya Joukani, NZL, 11-5 11-6 11-2; Farida Mohamed (13/16), EGY, bt Jannia Singh, IND, 11-6 11-8 11-4; Georgia Robcke, NZL, bt Sarah Lüdin, SUI, 13-11 11-6 10-12 1-11 11-8; Fereshteh Eghtedari, IRI, bt Hannah Mannion, ZIM, 11-2 11-4 11-2; Laila Sedky, USA, bt Kaitlyn Watts, NZL, 12-10 12-10 8-11 11-4; Jessica Keng, MAS, bt Reese Bain, RSA, 11-1 11-5 11-1; Chan Sin Yuk (13/16), HKG, def. Ananya Dabke, IND, 11-9 11-8 11-2; Ingy Hammouda (9/12), EGY, bt Annaleise Faint, NZL, 11-2 11-0 11-4; Sanya Vats, IND, bt Polite Mubure, ZIM, 11-7 11-6 11-3; Sneha Sivakumar, Sing, bt Aira Azman, MAS, 11-6 11-5 3-11 11-2; Alexandra Haydon, AUS, bt Niki Shemirani, IRI, 11-6 11-7 9-11 11-2; Gigi Yeung, MAC, bt. Pascale Louka, AUS, 11-6 11-2 11-7; Georgia Adderley (9/12), SCO, bt Simona Frevel, Swiss, 11-3 11-4 11-4; Kah Yan Ooi (13/16), MAS, bt Caroline Spahr, USA, 11-6 11-8 11-7; Emma Jinks, CAN, bt. Winona-Jo Joyce, NZL, 11-6 11-8 11-2; Aishwarya Khubchandani, IND, bt Teagan Roux, RSA, 11-6 11-5 11-6.