Taipei: It proved a day of mixed luck for India in the semifinals of the Asian Team Squash Championship as the women waltzed past top seeds Hong Kong while the men went down fighting to Pakistan on Saturday.
The happy tidings came early in the day for the women with Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal showing why they are a force to reckon with in world squash. Both won, and that helped India shock Hong Kong and storm into the final.
They next face Malaysia, against whom they had lost in the group stage. "It will be a revenge match. The girls are gearing up for this challenge," said national coach Cyrus Poncha.
After Sachika Ingale failed to keep her slate clean, losing to Liu Tsz Ling without much resistance, it was left to Joshna not only to shore up India's stock but inspire her colleague Dipika to touch her best. Joshna did not put a foot wrong in taming the Hong Kong number one Annie Au, who at rank 10, was three rungs above the Indian. Aggression was Joshna's ploy from start and with clever drives and drops, she left her rival clueless, winning in straight games.
The onus was now on Dipika but the star player started on a diffident note against Joey Chan, who was winner when the two met last two years ago in the Asian Championship. The Indian led 10-8 in the first game but from game-ball position, lost and the inspired Hong Kong player went on to grab the next game too.
The experienced Dipika brought out her fighting side and in a jiffy, changed the game's complexion by bagging the next two games with explosive drives and astute drops and boasts.
Taking the saddle, she left Joey rooted to the spot in the decider to win in style and send cheers to her camp.
Alas that was not the scene in the men's section. India without a spearhead like Saurav Ghosal started on the defensive against Pakistan. Velavan Senthilkumar was the first to play against the experienced Farhan Mehboob. The youngster did well, even took a game but the Pakistani had the upperhand.
Harinder Pal Sandhu was again outstanding and beat the higher ranked Farhan Zaman. All depended on Kush Kumar but being 2-1 in game scores and running close in the fourth game, he could not capitalise. India thus like last time, settled for the bronze.
The results: semi-final : Men: India lost to Pakistan 1-2 ( Velavan Senthilkumar lost to Farhan Mehboob 5-11, 5-11, 11-5, 5-11; Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Farhan Zaman 14-16, 11-8, 11-7,10-12, 11-6); Kush Kumar lost to Tayyab aslam 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-3; women: semi-final: India beat Hong Kong 2-1 (Sachika Ingaale lost to Liu Tsz Ling 6-11, 7-11, 2-11; Joshna Chinappa bt Annie Au 11-7, 13-11, 11-4; Dipika Pallikal bt Joey Chan 10-12, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6).
Updated Date: May 14, 2016 19:57 PM