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Vikram Malhotra goes down fighting

Nandakumar Marar

MUMBAI: Vikram Malhotra displayed resolve to take a game off Ritwik Bhattacharya in the 53rd senior National squash championships men's pre-quarterfinal before India's highest ranked pro got down to business. The top seed from Delhi won 7-9, 9-1, 9-7, 9-1 against a 15-year-old for whom lasting on the court for four games was the achievement after six of the eight pre-quarterfinals finished in three games.

The Mumbai youngster, coached by Amitoj Inder Singh went all out on Tuesday at the Bombay Gymkhana courts. "Ritwik is India's highest ranked player, so winning a game makes the effort worthwhile. A little more fitness would have helped me run him close in the third game (9-7). Fitness is the difference between pros like him and others."

Harinderpal Singh remained on court for 63 minutes before overcoming the gritty Rishad Pandole, the Tamil Nadu player overturning a 1-2 deficit to win 3-2 (9-2, 1-9, 2-9, 9-2, 9-4) against the Maharashtra senior.

Sourav Ghosal's energy and deceptive shots wore down Parth Sharma and Manek Mathur went down to Gaurav Nandrajog 9-1, 9-5, 10-8.

The results:

Men's pre-quarterfinals: Ritwik Bhattarcharya (Del) bt Vikram Malhotra (Mah) 7-9, 9-1, 9-7, 9-1; Dhiraj Singh (Raj) bt Amjad Khan (Del) 9-7, 9-1, 9-1; Surpreet Singh (Mah) bt Shakti Singh (SSB) 9-0, 9-2, 9-1; Gaurav Nandrajog (Del) bt Manek Mathur (Mah) 9-1, 9-5, 10-8; Vikas Jangra (SSB) bt Naresh Kumar (Del) 9-0, 9-1, 9-3; Rishad Pandole (Mah) bt Harinderpal Singh (TN) 9-2, 1-9, 2-9, 9-2, 9-4; Sourav Ghosal (TN) bt Parth Sharma (TN) 9-1, 9-4, 9-0.

Women's (1st round): Harita Omprakash (TN) bt Shahnaz Dastur (Mah) 9-0, 9-6, 9-1; Madhura Paranjape (Mah) w/o Eshan Bhat (J & K).

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