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Joshna & Saurav bow out

By S.R. Suryanarayan



Australia's Diannne Desira goes for a shot as her partner Cameron White and the Indian pair Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal (right) watch. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI, DEC. 15. Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal raised hopes of becoming the second Indian pair to cross the quarterfinal stage but unable to sustain concentration and consistency, the two faded away against the Australians Dianne Desira and Cameron White in the mixed doubles of the second World doubles squash championship here on Wednesday.

Dianne appeared the weak link that the Indians had planned to exploit but her partner Cameron was very swift on court and knew the art of shoring up. And without making any wrong move in the 71-minute encounter, he intervened at crucial moments to relieve the pressure on his partner. What is more he was able to entice the Indians into errors with his varying returns. But the start was electrifying. The Indians down 2-5, fought back with Saurav firing his backhanders and drives while Joshna concentrated on the lobs and drops. The first game went to extra points and the Indians clinched it.

Sadly, there ended the good phase for India. For even though the two fought back from 2-7 down to be on game ball at 8-7 in the next, crucial mistakes helped Australia to wriggle out and come back strongly. The way even Saurav wavered in concentration, twice hitting the tin in succession, the signals were clear.

Poor Saurav cannot be totally blamed for he and Ritwik Bhattacharya had spent enough energy in the morning while carving out a sensational win over third seed Dan Jenson and Cameron Pilley of Australia in the men's doubles.

The win was all the more significant because the Indians effected a dent to the Australian dominance. Jenson is an old hand, having played in the 1997 World championship, but the fame of the rivals was not to undo the Indians. Both Ritwik and Saurav took turns to shine. In fact, the duo should have finished the match in four games but at 8-6 and match ball there was that proverbial slip between the cup and the lip, but that did not prove dear in the end.

The semifinals in the men's section will feature two Australian pairs, including the top seed David Palmer and Anthony Ricketts, an American pair besides the Indians but none from Pakistan. Both the Pakistani pairs perished in the quarterfinals.

The results: (all quarterfinals):

Men: David Palmer and Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt Safeerullah Khan and Farrukh Zaman (Pak) 9-3, 9-7, 9-7; Byron Davis and Cameron White (Aus) bt Wai Hang Wong and Roger Ngan (HK) 9-5, 9-6, 9-5; Ritwik Bhattacharya and Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Dan Jenson and Cameron Pilley (Aus) 9-3, 11-8, 4-9, 8-9, 9-6; Jamie Crombe and Preston Quick (U.S.) bt Mansoor Zaman and Shahid Zaman (Pak) 8-9, 11-10, 9-7, 9-6.

Mixed: Cameron White and Dianne Desira (Aus) bt Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 10-11, 11-9, 9-3, 9-5; Rachael Grinham and David Palmer (Aus) bt Rebecca Chiu and Faheem Khan (HK) 9-4, 9-2, 9-3; Natalie Grinham and Dan Jenson (Aus) bt Lara Petera and Callum O'Brian (NZ) 9-6, 11-9, 6-9, 7-9, 9-4; Shelley Kitchen and Glen Wilson (NZ) bt Tricia Chuah and Mohd. Azlan Iskandar (Mal) 9-3, 9-2, 9-6.

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