The crowd favourite didn’t disappoint at the end of the day as she stormed into the final of the 19th Asian Squash Championship beating top seed Annie Au 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 in the semi-final. Dipika became the second Indian player after Misha Grewal to reach the final of an Asian Championship.
In the other semi-final, Joshna Chinappa beat Tong Tsz Wing 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 to join her compatriot in the final. It would be the first time an all-Indian final will be played in the history of Asian Championships.
Au had a 7-2 lead over Dipika prior to the semi-final and Dipika said she was determined to make the match swing in her favour. The fourth seed was aggressive from the start and won the first first game at 11-9.
It looked like Dipika would run away with the second game at 7-3 but Au started taking control by not letting the Indian play her game. The top seed took eight straight points to restore parity and won the second game. Au did well to slow the pace of the game to score the points with ease.
Dipika wasn’t in a mood to relent. She mixed her shots well and forced Au to play back while the Hong Kong player was doing the opposite. Dipika’s adept placement was the key and when Au hit below the bottom line a couple of times, it handed Dipika a 2-1 lead and the Indian shrieked in celebration and pumped her fist with force.
The fourth game was a copy of the first and third as Dipika took control of the proceedings to emerge victorious.
Later, Wing had no answers to Joshna’s game as the second seed breezed past her in style. Joshna took early lead in all three games to put pressure on Wing. The Hong Kong player crumbled under pressure to hand the match on a platter to Joshna.
In the men’s semi-final, the top seed Max Lee of Hong Kong lived up to his top billing as he demolished Malaysia’s Mohd Nafiizwan 12-10, 116, 11-5 to move into the final.
Later, Saurav Ghosal became the third Indian to reach the final when he beat the defending champion Leo Au 11-6, 11-7, 11-3. Ghosal will meet top seed Lee in the final.