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Bala Murugan and Parthiban pair enters final

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, DEC. 3. The power of youth can set aside the advantage of experience. Bala Murugan and A. Parthiban proved this with their come-from-behind victories over Cyrus Poncha and Srivatsan Subramaniam enroute to the men's final on Friday in the first national doubles squash championship at the ICL-TNSRA Academy courts.

Sitting pretty, two games up and just one away from winning, the unseeded pair of Poncha and Subramaniam, the conquerors of the second seed Vikas Jangra and Shakti singh earlier in the day, faltered just briefly. And the young rivals grabbed the opportunity. With rallies galore, tight returns and the occasional boasts, the contest kept stretching, taking the toll of particularly Poncha, incidentally the national coach, who was struck with a touch of cramps. Erring at crucial moments, he let the grasp slip and all the wristy back up of Subramaniam could not prove effective.

In contrast was the way Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh sailed past Niraj Shirgaokar and Gajendra Singh in the other semifinal. As it happens in doubles, the effort is to pressurise the weak link. So where Ghosal was starved of action, Harinder was in charge and he stood up to the occasion well to script a comfortable win for the pair.

Meanwhile the first phase of the senior national championship (open event) got underway with a spate of walk-overs.

The results:

Men: Semifinal: Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh (TN) bt Niraj Shirgaokar and Gajendra Singh (Mah) 9-7, 11-9, 9-3; Bala Murugan and A. Parthiban (TN) bt Cyrus Poncha and Srivatsan Subramaniam (TN) 5-9, 10-11, 9-1, 9-5, 9-6. Quarterfinals: Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh (TN) bt Naishadh Lalwani and Rushabh Vora (Mah) 9-3, 9-4 9-7; Bala Muruganand A. Parthiban (TN) bt Amjad Khan and Naresh Kumar (Har) 9-6, 9-6, 9-5; Cyrus Poncha and Srivatsan Subramaniam (TN) bt Vikas Jangra and Shakti Singh (SSCB) 9-4, 9-5, 6-9, 9-7.

Women: Semifinal: Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Jesheila Mani and V. Anvesha Reddy (TN) 9-4, 9-4, 9-3; Surbhi Misra and Shivangi Paranjpe (TN) bt Shibani Philip and Sonali Philip (TN) 9-6, 9-3, 9-5.

Mixed doubles: Quarterfinals: Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt V. Laxman and Harita Omprakash (TN) 9-0, 9-5, 9-4; Gajendra Singh and Jesheila Mani (MP/TN) bt A. Parthiban and Ritika Reddy (TN) 9-2, 9-7, 3-9, 9-7; Bala Murugan and V. Anvesha Reddy (TN) bt Cyril Kuhn and Shibani Philip (TN) 9-5, 9-3, 2-9, 9-3; Harinder Pal Singh and Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Sami Johnson and Shivangi Paranjpe (TN) 9-7, 9-3, 9-5.

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