Squash: Sandhu, Dipika in title round

Squash: Sandhu, Dipika in title round

0Chennai, Oct 28 (IANS) Harinder Pal Sandhu and Dipika Pallikal, winners of the third leg in Mumbai, reached the final of the JSW-PSA and JSW-WSA Challenger squash tournament at the ISA courts here Tuesday.

Sandhu will face the top seed Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt while top seeded Dipika will take on Japanese Misaki Kobayashi in the title round Wednesday.

While Fathi overcame Ravi Dixit 11-7, 11-6, 15-13, Sandhu proved too good for Hossam Nasser of Egypt in winning 11-7, 11-4, 11-4, in the semi-finals.

Pallikal suffered a brief lapse before she overcame South African Siyoli Waters 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5 and Kobayashi wasted little time to knock out Birgit Coufal of Austria 11-6, 11-4, 11-5, in the women’s semi-finals.

A slow starter, Dixit failed to cope with Fathi’s strides and stroke-play initially. Forecourt appeared to be Dixit’s strength from the way he won points from drops and corner shots.

But consistency was failing him against an opponent who was willing to be moved around. Two comfortable games for Fathi meant the match was proceeding for a tame end, but Dixit came on his own in the third and leading 8-6 he looked ready to stretch the contest.

A spate of rallies and some never-say-die reaches by both players brought cheers around. A few ‘let’ calls upset Dixit but he carried on gamely.

The Egyptian restored parity and even went ahead, but Dixit caught up once with a grand drop shot and then followed it up with a perfect corner placing. It was 13-13 when Dixit missed a point and it allowed Fathi the advantage to finish off.

“I thought he was taking the third game. He played very well. It was a good fight. He is a good player,” said Fathi after the match.

In comparison, Sandhu had fewer problems against Nasser who can be excellent with his wristy shots. Only, he could not play on his strength. Except for the first game, Nasser did not seem to keen to stretch and seemed to be nursing a niggle.

After two easy outings earlier, World No.12 Pallikal found in Waters an opponent who was ready to fight. Ranked in the thirties, Waters employed the low dippers to the top of the tin to trouble Pallikal.

Pallikal took time to settle down, but varied pace and mixed her returns diligently to outdo her rival in the final analysis.

The results (semi-finals):

PSA: Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Ravi Dixit 11-7, 11-6, 15-13; Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Hossam Nasser (EGY) 11-7, 11-4, 11-4.

WSA: Dipika Pallikal btASiyoli Waters (RSA) 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5; Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) bt Birgit Coufal (AUT) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.

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