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Sport - Squash Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Saurav Ghosal scripts a fine win

Kamesh Srinivasan

Amr Shabana outclasses qualifier Coppinger

— PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA

GOOD GOING: Saurav Ghosal stretches to retrieve during the course of his winning encounter against Adrian Waller.

NEW DELHI: Saurav Ghosal warmed up for a test of fire with a well-executed 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 victory over qualifier Adrian Waller of England in the first round of the $192,500 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters squash tournament here on Tuesday.

Playing steadily at the start and stepping up his game at the crunch in each of the three games, the 24-year-old Ghosal came up with exquisite shots at regular intervals to keep the cheering fans suitably entertained.

The 53rd-ranked Englishman lacked the tenacity to press hard beyond a point and the 22nd-ranked Ghosal was able to wriggle out from 6-7 in the first game to reel off five points in a row, to set the tempo for the contest.

The two had not won two points in a row till then.

The big-built English left-hander had his best chance in the second game when he had a game ball, but Ghosal executed a drop and a sliced backhand to turn the game point in his favour and the Englishman hit the tin in desperation.

Pulling away

In the third game, the fight was on till 5-5 after which Ghosal pulled away, reeling four points in a row, during which the English had the ignominy of being asked by the referee whether he wanted a ‘let' on a point and being denied the same.

The seasoned coach Malcolm Willstrop who trains the Indian lad in Leeds, was quite pleased with the execution of Ghosal and commended him for the fine performance.

“He did things required, and played solid, the European approach,” said Willstrop senior, father of the second-seeded James Willstrop, making it clear that there were no easy matches.

Ghosal on his part was busy talking about his next round opponent, the former World No. 1 Amr Shabana of Egypt who outclassed qualifier Steve Coppinger of South Africa with a touch of class. “That was brilliant. He is a great player. I have to play well tomorrow,” said the six-time National champion, who had stretched Shabana to five games in their last meeting in Hong Kong earlier this season.

In fact, Shabana had stopped Ghosal in the second round of the first edition of the Punj Lloyd Masters in Mumbai last year during their first meeting.

Still learning

Quite dismissive about the praise showered on him, the 31-year-old Shabana, who had stayed No. 1 in the world for 33 successive weeks before shoulder and back injuries brought him down, said he was still learning and trying to improve, which he conceded laughingly, was “not a good news for his opponents''.

A four-time World champion, the stylish left-hander said that he was looking forward to a good match against the home champion.

Meanwhile, Aparajita Balamurukan and Anaka Alankamony made it to the main draw of the $36,500 WISPA Masters beginning on Thursday.

In the first round, Dipika Pallikal will face qualifier Lisa Aitken of Scotland while Joshna Chinappa will meet fifth-seeded Annie Hu of Hong Kong.

The results (first round, Indians unless specified):

Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt Aaron Frankcomb (Aus) 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.

Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Mohammed Abbas (Egy) 11-9, 15-13, 3-11, 11-7; Saurav Ghosal bt Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-7, 12-10, 11-6.

Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Steve Coppinger (RSA) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4; Daryl Selby (Eng) bt Joey Barrington (Eng) 11-6, 12-10, 11-9; Peter Barker (Eng) bt Omar Abdeel Aziz (Egy) 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2.

Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Tom Richards (Eng) 11-3, 1-11, 11-3, 11-9; Nick Mathew (Eng) bt Dick Lau (HK) 11-6, 11-4, 11-4.

WISPA (qualifying event, first and final round):

Lisa Aitken (Sco) bt Josefa Bertilsson (Swe) 11-7, 11-3, 11-3; Aparajita Balamurukan w/o Saima Shoukat (Pak); Anaka Alankamony bt Anwesha Reddy 11-3, 11-6, 12-10.

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