It was a mixed bag of results for India as the World Junior Squash Championship kicked off on Wednesday with the men’s first and second rounds played at the Indian Squash Academy here. There were no major upsets as all the top seeds progressed into the third round due to be played on Thursday.
For the host, only three of the six boys made it to the third round. Yash Fadte, Rahul Baitha and Veer Chotrani advanced after close games in the second round.
Sankalp Anand crashed out in the first round 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11 to Hong Kong’s Chan Chi Ho. Utkarsh Baheti, the current U-17 National champion, lost to Germany’s Nils Schwab 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 7-11 in a tight match in the second round.
Stretching the favourite
Advait Adik went out in the second round, to World No. 1 Marwar Tarek from Egypt. Marwar, though, didn’t have it easy. Advaik, playing in the world juniors for the first time, gave Marwar a tough fight although the match ended in three games (11-5, 11-7, 11-7).
“I didn’t expect to play so well today. He’s the World No. 1 and that’s a lot of pressure but I think I played well,” said Advaik, who is the youngest boy in the squad. “It was a great experience to play him. I can only improve from here.”
Advaik came close to making it even harder for Marwan, but regrets the missed opportunities. “I felt I could have pushed more and taken a game. I was getting these openings but I missed a few. They were just hitting the tin; it was fine margins.”
His opponent, the defending champion Marwan Tarek, was also impressed by his showing. “It was not an easy one. He seems to be a good player and he’s young as well. I think he’ll have a bright future ahead,” said Marwan for whom it was the first match of tournament.
Yash Fadte, the junior No. 1 in the country, progressed to the third round after a 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 win over Germany’s Abdel-Rahman Ghait. The U.S. Junior U-17 Open champion, playing in his second World Juniors, didn’t have it easy as he had to come from a game down against the tall German. “It wasn’t easy. Every match is tough and we’ve to work for every point. So winning such matches gives me a lot of confidence,” said the 18-year old who will face the ninth seed, England’s James Wyatt, in the next round.
Veer Chotrani won a close encounter with South Africa’s Mikael Ismail 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 to advance to the third round. The 16-year-old, who is the son of former two-time national champion Manish Chotrani, will face a tougher task in the next round as he faces the second seed and Egypt’s No. 2 Mostafa Asal. Mostafa won an easy match against Canada’s Salaheddin Eltorgman in the second round, beating him 13-11, 11-2, 11-2.
Rahul Baitha was the first Indian on the day to make it to the third round with a 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 win over Switzerland’s Nils Roesch. After going down in the second game, he suffered a scare in the third and fourth games but came back from behind to win the games. “I had a tough game in the morning despite winning 3-0. I was a bit tired and my confidence was little low but I worked hard after the first game,” said Rahul, who faces another Egyptian — fifth seed Mostafa Montaser — in the next round.
- Marwan Tarek (Egy) bt Advait Adik 11-5, 11-7, 11-7;
- Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar (Mas) bt Nicholas Calvert (Aus) 11-4, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3;
- Matthew Lucente (Nzl) bt Keagan Waugh (RSA) 11-3, 11-6, 11-4;
- Rahul Baitha bt Nils Roesch (Sui) 11-5, 12-10, 11-8;
- Mostafa Montaser (Egy) bt Hafiz Zhafri (Mas) 11-2, 15-13, 11-2;
- Nicholas Wall (Eng) bt Lisandro Ortiz (Arg) 11-2, 11-2, 11-6;
- Abbas Zeb (Pak) bt Elijah Thomas (Nzl) 11-4, 11-4, 11-3;
- Matias Knudsen (Col) bt Alasdair Prott (Sco) 11-1, 11-6, 11-3;
- Nils Schwab (Ger) bt Utkarsh Baheti (Ind) 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7;
- Omar El Torkey (Egy) bt Jacob Ford (Aus) 11-5, 11-2, 11-6.
- Mostafa El Serty (Egy) bt Manuel Paquemar (Fra) 11-5, 11-7,12-10;
- Yash Fadte bt Abdel Rahma Ghait (Ger) 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6;
- Darren Rahul Pragasam (Mas) bt Christopher Murphy (Sco) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6;
- Veer Chotrani bt Mikael Ismail (SA) 11-8, 11-8, 13-11.