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Saurav Ghosal-Harinder Pal duo wins thrilling final

By Our Special Correspondent



WINNERS ALL: Joshna Chinappa (left) and Dipika Pallikal, the winners of the women's title in the National doubles squash championship in Chennai on Saturday. Right: Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh, the winners in the men's section.

CHENNAI, DEC. 4. Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh in the men's section and Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal in the women's section emerged the winners. In a way it was a historic moment for the two pairs for they earned the honour of winning their respective titles in the very first edition of the national doubles squash championship here on Saturday.

The evening's fare was mixed in quality with Joshna and Dipika not really troubled by Surabhi Misra of Rajasthan and Shivangi Paranjpe, winning 11-10, 9-3, 11-10.

In total contrast was the men's competition where Saurav and Harinder virtually pulled off a sensational win from the jaws of defeat against the experienced Bala Murugan and rookie A. Parthiban in 50 minutes. Down 4-7 and then facing match point at 5-8, all seemed over for the Saurav-Harinder combination. Easily one of the best juniors in Asia, Saurav is not one to give in easily. But then in doubles the target is the team's weak link and poor Harinder had to repeatedly get looks of disapproval from Saurav.

Under pressure even the best of players crumble. With both Bala and Parthiban testing Harinder's consistency, the latter wilted. A few quick drives and boasts by Saurav eased pressure and then came the turning point when Parthiban was caught on the wrong foot. Gradually the scores were levelled and Saurav struck the winner with a trickle boast that had Parthiban lunging forward in vain.

Meanwhile, the senior national championship progressed steadily with the men's singles going past the second round. It was easy pickings for the seasoned players, including reigning champion and top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya, who is back after a phase of layoff following a knee surgery.

The results: Doubles final: Men: Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh (TN) bt Bala Murugan and A. Parthiban (TN) 9-2, 4-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-8; Women: Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Surabhi Misra (Raj) and Shivangi Paranjpe (Mah) 11-10, 9-3, 11-10.

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